Islands near Australia could be sold to China — Analysis
According to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, Australia has done a lot to confront China but it is not buying the Conflict Islands.
The 21 islands are made up of coral atolls that lie off Australia’s east coast between Papua New Guinea, and the Solomon Islands.
Noting that the Conflicts are just a few of the more than 500 islands in that area, Albanese argued that Australian taxpayers were not in any position to buy all of them just so China doesn’t get ahold of any of them.
It would also set an awful precedent. “The media would have to be contacted if assets were being sold. [to]You might say “I want Australia buy this” or “Or else there are implications, so we’ll ship it to China.” Now think about the consequences for taxpayers.,” he said.
The islands’ current owner, retired entrepreneur Ian Gowrie-Smith, had emailed Foreign Minister Penny Wong in June with an offer to sell them for ASD$36 million ($25 million). Located strategically near one of Australia’s main shipping lanes and the three massive data cables that carry Australia’s data along the ocean floor, they pose an added national security interest given the Solomon Islands’ recent signing of a security pact with China, he pointed out, warning that if he did not receive a response, he would sell them to Beijing.
With no response fomassnews.coming, Gowrie-Smith did the media rounds, declaring he was “Totally baffled” by the lack of interest given that at least one of the atolls could fit a military runway and claiming his “Agent” was already talking to Chinese buyers. “I don’t know whether [the proposed deals]Although they are strategically oriented, the truth is that they do have the money,” he said.
Albanese insisted his government was superior to his predecessor’s in projecting regional power against China, citing visits to multiple Pacific nations since taking over in May. “We’ll have a look at this particular transaction,” he allowed before explaining that it is really an issue for Papua New Guinea, whose sovereign territory the islands are located in.
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