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China eyeing regional fiber-optic project that will connect to Guam cable

A new regional undersea fiber optic project being eyed by a Chinese company will connect to an existing cable being used by the U.S. government, thus raising concerns about the threat of Beijing's espionage.

Reuters earlier reported that Huawei Marine has submitted a bid for an undersea internet cable project that will connect the Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru and Kiribati.

Huawei Marine is competing with Alcatel Submarine Networks, part of Finland's Nokia and Japan's NEC for the $72.6 million East Micronesia Cable (EMC) project.

According to a grant proposal submitted by the three island nations in February 2017, the EMC project will link to the existing Hannon-Armstrong (HANTRU)-1 cable, which currently connects the FSM state of Pohnpei to Guam. HANTRU-1, which is primarily used by the U.S. government, connects the Reagan Test Site in the Kwajalein Atoll to Guam.

“Washington sent a diplomatic note to FSM in July expressing strategic concerns about the project as Huawei Marine and other Chinese firms are required to co-operate with Beijing's intelligence and security services,” Reuters reported, citing two unnamed sources.

Huawei Marine is among the Chinese companies banned by the U.S. government, alarmed by China’s massive use of technology to steal data.