Undersea cable deal with PNG inked amid concerns over China's influence

Wednesday, 15 November 2017, 07:43:37 AM. The Federal Government announces it will deliver a new undersea, high-speed telecommunications cable from Australia to PNG.
Video: Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells discusses the undersea cables with Beverley O'Connor (The World) Australia will deliver a new undersea, high-speed telecommunications cable from Australia to Papua New Guinea, the Federal Government has announced. The announcement came as the prime ministers of the two countries met on the sidelines of the APEC summit currently underway in Vietnam. Australia's Government also said it was in "close discussions" with Solomon Islands to lay a similar cable. Photo: The leaders of Australia and PNG say the deal is a refection of strong relations between the countries. (AAP: Lukas Coch) That decision throws into doubt an agreement between Solomon Islands and private Chinese company Huawei, which announced in July it had signed a contract to construct a cable from Sydney to Honiara. Solomon Islands' caretaker Prime Minister Manasseh Sogovare has backed the Australian deal, but his influence may be lessened after the election of a new prime minister on Wednesday. The prospect of Huawei plugging into Australia's communications network had raised eyebrows within Australia, as the company had been banned from tendering for the National Broadband Network in 2012 because of security concerns. Director of the Pacific Islands Program at the Lowy Institute, Jonathan Pryke, said the decision to build the cables was a way for Australia to maintain its presence and counter the growing influence of China in the Pacific region. "There's some really...Read more
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