31 Oct 2019

China, US respond to lease termination in Solomon Islands

7:50 am on 31 October 2019

China has responded to the termination of a deal to lease an island in Solomon Islands to a state-linked developer, calling it an isolated commercial case.

Tulagi island.

Tulagi island. Photo: Wikimedia commons / mjwinoz

Earlier this week, the Solomon Islands' attorney-general declared the agreement for Tulagi unlawful and unenforceable.

A spokesperson for China's foreign ministry, Geng Shuang, said the project was terminated because the provincial government had not sought approval from the national government.

China always asks its enterprises to abide by international rules, local law and market principals, he said.

The US defence secretary Mark Esper had lauded the move as an important decision to reinforce sovereignty and transparency, words Mr Geng called an effort to smear relations between China and the Pacific.

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