New data cable links China, Taiwan

Aug. 21, 2012 at 7:21 PM

BEIJING, Aug. 21 (UPI) -- Data has been sent over the first cables linking China and Taiwan in what analysts call a sign of improving relations between the two arms-length neighbors.

Two undersea fiber-optic cables carried traffic for 4 minutes during a "completion ceremony" between China and the island nation of Taiwan, which has been self-governing since 1949 but which China has long pressured for reunification.

The cable is one of a number of economic commercial agreements signed since President Ma Ying-jeou took office in Taiwan in May 2008 and represents improved relations between Beijing and Taipei, analysts said.

"This is part of a crescendo of increasing economic, logistic and person-to-person links across the straits -- we've seen direct flights increasingly replacing the flights via Hong Kong or Macau and a growing number of tourists from the mainland visiting Taiwan," Duncan Clark, an analyst at BDA China, told the BBC.

The cables were laid by collaborating Chinese and Taiwanese companies at a cost of $6.7 million.

"From a telecom perspective, direct links obviously helps create a more robust infrastructure, both in terms of speed and in avoiding the risks of further disruptions from either earthquakes or fishing trawlers, who have in the past inadvertently dragged up cables in their nets or anchors," Clark said.

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