Backed by the federal government, telecommunications giant Telstra is in talks to buy mobile networks in six Pacific nations which foreign policy experts believe is designed to block China from acquiring the strategically important assets.

The Australian government reportedly plans to provide most of the financing for the acquisition of mobile networks in Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Nauru, Samoa, Tonga, and Vanuatu currently owned by the Jamaica-based Digicel Group, which has been struggling financially amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Non-Resident Senior Fellow Dr John Lee spoke with the Wall Street Journal about the potential deal, explaining that the move to outbid China as a potential buyer was fuelled by security concerns.

"It would almost be game over as far as keeping out or minimizing Chinese influence over these developing economies is concerned," Dr Lee explained, highlighting that the United States and Australia both have a "focus on the South Pacific and in particular putting constraints on Chinese influence".