US National Security Concerns Threaten Undersea Cable to China

August 28, 2019 Updated: August 28, 2019

U.S. officials are seeking to block an undersea cable between Los Angeles and Hong Kong that is being backed by Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Facebook Inc. and a Chinese partner on national security grounds, the Wall Street Journal reported on Aug. 28.

The Justice Department has signaled staunch opposition to the project because of concerns over its Chinese investor, Dr. Peng Telecom & Media Group Co., and the direct link that the cable would provide to Hong Kong, the WSJ reported, citing people involved in the discussion.

The Justice Department, Google, Facebook and Dr. Peng did not immediately respond to Reuters’ requests for comment.

Subsea cables form the backbone of the internet by carrying 99 percent of the world’s data traffic.

Chinese-built marine cables have long been considered a security concern by the United States.

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) may be intercepting communications from undersea cables, placing at risk all phone and internet data passing through major networks in the Asia-Pacific region.

Existing research shows that Chinese military branches associated with cyber espionage maintain operations near key cable landing stations. A leaked report citing intelligence sources in the United States, Japan, and Australia—provided to The Epoch Times—shows additional research on possible Chinese front companies with mysterious finances and questionable ties at key data chokepoints.

The report states that while China has a “well-deserved reputation for sophisticated cyber espionage,” its attempts to tap into undersea cables carrying large amounts of data are often overlooked.

By Neha Malara. The Epoch Times contributed to this report.