On 31 July, ABC News in Australia reported that a Chinese state-owned company is negotiating to buy a deep-water port and WW2 airstrip in the Solomon Islands, as new documents detail how money from China has helped keep the Pacific nation’s controversial leader in power. An asset being targeted by China is a hardwood forestry plantation on the island of Kolombangara, which features a protected harbour, deep-water port and an airstrip. A local MP is quoted saying that China’s ambition to house military assets in the country remains strong. Documents obtained by the channel show a Chinese slush fund was activated twice last year and dispersed nearly $3 million directly to members of parliament loyal to the Prime Minister. The PM described the money as a “stimulus package” to revitalise the economy, although it was only given to MPs loyal to him.
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