Chinese company wins tender to redevelop Solomon Islands port; prompts concerns of security
- In Reports
- 02:41 PM, Mar 23, 2023
- Myind Staff
The Solomon Islands has awarded a Chinese state company a multi-million dollar contract to upgrade an international port in Honiara.
Reuters cited a Solomon Islands official as saying that the China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC) was the only company to submit a bid in the competitive tender for the redevelopment project.
“This will be upgrading the old international port in Honiara and two domestic wharves in the provinces,” Mike Qaqara, an official of the Ministry of Infrastructure Development, told Reuters.
The two other upgrades are planned for the provinces of Makira and Renbel, and all together are part of a $170m project funded by the Asian Development Bank.
The announcement was made nearly a year after China signed a security pact with the Solomon Islands that Australian officials had said might pave the way for a future Chinese naval presence about 1,700km north-east of the Queensland coast.
Prime minister of Samoa, Fiamē Naomi Mataʻafa, raised concerns that the commercial port “might morph into something else” and suggested that Pacific countries may have to monitor the situation.
According to the government of Solomon Islands, CCECC had already been awarded the contract for the roads aspect of the project last year.
The Australian government said on Wednesday that it “closely monitors developments which might impact on our national interest”.
“The Solomon Islands Infrastructure Development Ministry has said that there will be no expansion of the port for dual use,” a spokesperson for the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said.
“We support infrastructure development in the Pacific that is open and transparent, meets genuine development needs, and delivers long-term economic benefits," the spokesperson added.
Image courtesy: The Guardian