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Chinese company with military links to build aeronautical hub in Solomon Islands

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A leaked document has revealed a signed Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) between the Solomon Islands and a Chinese company called AVIC in November 2019. AVIC is one of China’s largest defense and aerospace companies.

The company wanted to transform the country into a large scale aeronautical hub with upgrades to almost three dozen airstrips.

In the MOU, Solomon Islands would receive direct flights to Honiara from China becoming a regional hub under the regional airline concept

In return, Solomon Islands government would buy six aircraft from AVIC depending on further negotiations on price and concessional terms.

The MOU was signed a few months after the Solomon Islands ended its thirty-six year relationship with Taiwan and officially recognised Beijing.

According to the Australian National University’s Graeme Smith, he believes that the MOU was stalled due to the pandemic which impacted international travel, and the company has strong ties back to the Chinese military. He also states that defence planners in Australia might have concerns regarding the involvement of this company.

Politicians have been outspoken here in Australia and abroad over the deal that has been made. There is ripe speculation that China is militarising the Solomon Islands, and that they are spreading too fast across the globe.

PM Scott Morrison has stated publicly that he won’t have any Chinese military bases in our region but did not elaborate on how he would stop them. He also said that it would be crossing a red-line with the U.S and Australia if China did build any bases.

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