The foreign affairs department is tracking a number of projects in the Solomon Islands, including a strategic deepwater port and airstrip of interest to China.
The ABC’s Four Corners says a Chinese state-owned company is negotiating to buy a hardwood forestry plantation featuring a protected harbour, deepwater port and World War II airstrip on the island of Kolombangara.
Kolombangara Forests Products Ltd board members wrote to Foreign Minister Penny Wong in May, expressing concerns about “risks/strategic threats”, the ABC reports.
The letter from the board outlined concerns about security partners from outside the Pacific region.
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Australia has maintained regional security should remain within the remit of the “Pacific family”.
“Australia’s high commissioner has been engaging regularly with the management of KFPL and will continue to do so,” a spokesperson for Senator Wong said in a statement.
“We value our position as Solomon Islands’ first security and development partner of choice, and we are committed to working together to face our shared challenges.”