24 Oct 2019

2023 Pacific Games: China to gift stadium to Solomons

4:21 pm on 24 October 2019

China has promised Solomon Islands that the construction of the main stadium for the 2023 Pacific Games in Honiara will be its gift to the country.

Solomon islands flag with China flag.

Solomon islands flag with China flag. Photo: 123RF

Solomon Islands was granted hosting rights for the games in 2016 but struggled to secure funding for the required sports infrastructure.

The national hosting authority has submitted a detailed proposal to Beijing for the construction of a main stadium and other venues for the games.

Solomon Business Magazine reports the deputy chief of mission at the Chinese Embassy in Port Moresby, Yao Ming, visited Honiara this week.

Beijing's support for the games would be provided in the form of grants and not loans, he said.

Mr Yao also rubbished media reports about so-called China's 'debt-trap diplomacy' in the Pacific, saying Solomon Islands had nothing to fear from Beijing.

He pointed out that China had previously built stadiums in Vanuatu and Samoa, saying he hadn't heard any complaints from those countries.

Ming Yao also said recently signed agreements between the leaders of the two countries would see China funding a wide variety of projects in Solomon Islands including infrastructure and rural development, scholarships to study in China and to the Solomon Islands National University.

The funding arrangements for those projects would vary.

"It depends. Some projects are funded by grant, some are funded by concessional loans or some are through PPP (Public Private Partnerships) format," he said.

"I think we need to take into consideration of all specific circumstances because I know you have very large development needs - starting from a village in the islands to capital Honiara."

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