March 12, 2020

Handing over Infrastructure for China’s Strategic Objectives: ‘Arctic Connect’ and the Digital Silk Road in the Arctic

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With the constant increase of data flows there is a demand for better infrastructure to facilitate the growth of the digital sector. Arctic Connect, a Finnish plan to join Europe and Asia through a submarine communication cable along the Northern Sea Route (NSR), promises to deliver that, writes EFPI Junior Research Fellow Frank Jüris in the recent Sinopsis policy brief “Handing over infrastructure for China’s strategic objectives: ‘Arctic Connect’ and the Digital Silk Road in the Arctic” presented at the conference “Beyond Huawei: Europe’s adoption of PRC technology and its implications”.

Finland is interested in this project, because it wants to attract investment into data centres by developing infrastructure. In the framework of Digital Silk Road, China is interested in building transcontinental and cross-border data cables and finding markets for its data cable service providers, such as Huawei Marine, whose platform has been already chosen for the construction of Arctic Connect.

With the construction of Arctic Connect, China would increase its defensive intelligence gathering capabilities, because its data transfer with Europe would no longer go through foreign data cables and as such would be better shielded from outside actors. Chinese offensive intelligence gathering capabilities would increase, because Chinese companies are obliged by law to collaborate with intelligence services. In addition, the construction of Arctic Connect would enable China to implement underwater surveillance capabilities it has been developing in the form of military-civilian fusion in the South and East China Sea.

Read the publication here: sinopsis.cz/en/arctic-digital-silk-road/

Paper presented at the Sinopsis’ conference Beyond Huawei: Europe’s adoption of PRC technology and its implications.

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