The future of the Internet and the South China Sea rivalry

Dr Maurizio Geri, a former NATO analyst, said the future of the Internet depends on the outcome of the China-US rivalry in the South China Sea. That sea is not only a key world trade route, as a popular submarine cable route is hidden under its surface. Controlling the flow of data and information is more valuable than transmitting any goods. According to the Washington research company TeleGeography, about 486 submarine cables currently handle over 99% of all international Internet traffic, and most of them belong to American companies such as Alphabet, Meta, Amazon and Microsoft. China intends to build an undersea internet cable network to create a super-fast connection between Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. The US government has already thwarted several Chinese subsea cabling projects in Asia-Pacific.

According to Bob Drogan, a former journalist for the Los Angeles Times, allies in Japan, South Korea, Australia, the Philippines and Taiwan, backed by the Biden administration, are seeking to bolster military capabilities and forge ties to deter Chinese aggression. Japan will soon be the third country in the world regarding defence spending after the US and China. Japan has embarked on its most significant military expansion since World War II, expected to cost $320 billion over five years. Meanwhile, under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) between the Philippines and the US, four new military bases will be built in different parts of the Philippines, including the South China Sea province.

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