• Kyodo

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Japan, the United States and Australia said Wednesday they will jointly finance a $30 million project for an undersea fiber optic cable to enhance Palau’s digital connectivity and elevate its business environment to attract new investment.

The project, the first under the three countries’ infrastructure investment partnership in the Indo-Pacific, comes as China is seeking to increase its influence in the Pacific, including through infrastructure funding.

“Palau needs safe, resilient and reliable communication networks. This project is very important for Palau strategically and geographically,” Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said in a joint video message with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Australian counterpart Marise Payne.

The video was aired at a meeting of the Indo-Pacific Business Forum in Vietnam.

The project will link Palau to the world’s longest undersea cable stretching around 15,000 kilometers that will connect Singapore with the United States, according to Japanese Foreign Ministry officials.

Pompeo said in the video message the three countries will cooperate on building high-quality infrastructure, including for communications, across the Indo-Pacific, not just in Palau.

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