Solomon Islands announced on August 18 that it has obtained a $66 million loan from China to fund the construction of 161 towers. Controversial telecoms behemoth Huawei is in charge of building the project. 

Apollo News reported that the Solomon government called the deal “historical financial partnership.” It marks the first time the island country receives funding from Beijing since the signing of a bilateral security pact in April, following cutting its ties with Taiwan in 2019.

According to the official statement, the island nation will receive a 20-year concessional loan from the state-owned Exim Bank of China. The Solomon Islands government plans to complete 48% of the 161 towers before the Pacific Games held in November next year. 

This project should enable Solomon Islanders, especially those in the country areas, to watch the games even if they cannot come to Honiara. 

The growing financial and security ties between China and Solomon Islands have spurred concerns from the U.S. and its allies, including Australia, New Zealand and some Pacific island neighbors.

Western officials believe the Chinese regime could use this security pact to build a military base in the country. As stated in a leaked draft, Chinese military forces could come to the islands anytime to suppress civil unrest.

According to VOA, despite Solomon authorities thinking Chinese companies come to help the islands, local people still believe they come to take over the country’s industries.

Bob Pollard, former chairman of Transparency Solomon Islands division, said that the islands’ construction industry had been taken over by China Civil Engineering and Construction Group and other companies like China Harbor.

In addition, President of the Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Ricky Fuo’o, believed that construction is one of the major sectors in which the Solomons see a lot of impacts. But many Chinese companies, particularly construction companies, are coming into the country, and the Solomons have no chance to compete with them in terms of price and scale.

He added that Chinese firms are slowly infiltrating and taking over the construction industry across the Pacific nation. 

Sign up to receive our latest news!

By submitting this form, I agree to the terms.