US-China row moves underwater in cable tangle

BBC Technology 18 Jun 2020 04:33
US flag in ChinaImage copyright Getty Images

An underwater data cable, linking the US to Hong Kong, looks set to be rejected by the US government because of fears of Chinese data theft.

The Pacific Light Cable Network, backed by Google and Facebook, is designed to boost internet speed and capacity.

But a US government committee known as "Team Telecom" has now recommended that the US denies it approval.

The decision is another sign of the growing tension between the US and China, who are in a trade war.

It would reportedly be the first such cable rejected by the US on national security grounds.

What is the Pacific Light Cable Network?

Around the world, there are hundreds of undersea cables providing internet connectivity.

The new cable was announced in 2016 as a partnership between Google, Facebook, and other companies.

Google said the cable would be 12,800 km long (8,000 miles) and would be the "highest-capacity trans-Pacific route".

The cable has been laid, reportedly at a cost of "many millions of dollars", but needs approval to operate.

The committee has recommended approval for the Taiwan and Philippines sections.

Their reasons included:

The final decision will be taken by the US Federal Communications Commission.

After President Trump took office, the US imposed billions of dollars' worth of tariffs on Chinese goods, with China retaliating.

The US has also targeted Chinese technology firm Huawei, calling it a national security threat, and is taking a more aggressive stance on Hong Kong.

Mr Trump said he would remove Hong Kong's privileged status in US law.

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Pacific Light Cable NetworkUSUS government committeeHong KongGoogle
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