Japan, U.S., Australia to fund telecom network in South Pacific

Japan said Tuesday it, the United States and Australia will fund an estimated 135 million Australian-dollar ($90 million) project to develop advanced telecommunications networks in the South Pacific amid China's growing clout in the region.

Under the East Micronesia Cable project, to be completed in 2025 at the earliest, about 2,250 kilometers of undersea cables connecting Micronesia, Nauru and Kiribati will be laid.

The project is expected to facilitate the three South Pacific island nations' economic recovery from the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.

Benefitting over 100,000 people in the area, the project will provide "faster, higher-quality and more reliable and secure communications" to the countries, an official from Japan's Foreign Ministry said.

In December 2021, the Japanese, U.S., and Australian foreign ministers said their governments would help with the new undersea cable construction for the three Pacific island states, as part of their efforts to promote a vision of a free and open Indo Pacific.

The vision has been advocated mainly by Tokyo and Washington in a veiled counter to China's growing regional assertiveness.

© Kyodo News