Excessive precipitation over the southeastern tropical Pacific is a major common bias that persists through generations of global climate models. While recent studies suggest an overly warm Southern Ocean as the cause, models disagree on the quantitative importance of this remote mechanism in light of ocean circulation feedback. Here, using a multimodel experiment in which the Southern Ocean is radiatively cooled, we show a teleconnection from the Southern Ocean to the tropical Pacific that is mediated by a shortwave subtropical cloud feedback. Cooling the Southern Ocean preferentially cools the southeastern tropical Pacific, thereby shifting the eastern tropical Pacific rainbelt northward with the reduced precipitation bias. Regional cloud locking experiments confirm that the teleconnection efficiency depends on subtropical stratocumulus cloud feedback. This subtropical cloud feedback is too weak in most climate models, suggesting that teleconnections from the Southern Ocean to the tropical Pacific are stronger than widely thought.