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06:50 AM, July 27, 2017
Australia Refuses To Connect Undersea Cable To Solomon Islands Citing Security Concerns
Huawei subsea internet cable route to Solomon Islands

Australia has refused to connect undersea communications cable to Solomon Islands after the latter awarded a contract to set up the cable system to controversial Chinese firm Huawei.

The Australian government had been in discussions with the Solomons government about the project for "a number of months", Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said in a statement Fairfax Media reported Wednesday.

"Australia is strongly supportive of economic growth for the development and prosperity of Solomon Islands, including an undersea cable to provide the improved internet access that the business sector needs to generate jobs and growth," she said.

"The Australia High Commission has been in discussions with the Solomon Islands government about the undersea cable project and the application process for a number of months."

To land a planned 4000 kilometre-long cable in Sydney, the Solomon Islands Submarine Cable Company needs to apply for a permit under Australia's Telecommunications Act.

The act states that the Attorney-General can direct the Australian Communications and Media Authority to deny a licence to a person if it "would be prejudicial to security".

Nick Warner, the head of the foreign intelligence agency the Australian Secret Intelligence Service, is understood to have warned Solomons Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare of Australia's concern during a visit to capital Honiara last month to mark the end of the Australian military and police assistance mission to the country.

Australia’s National Broadband Network was banned Huawei from working on the network on the advice of the security agency ASIO.

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