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China to Build Internet Infrastructure for the Solomon Islands

The Solomon Islands received a $66 million loan from the Export-Import Bank of China, which will be used to build telecommunications towers on one of  the islands. Huawei will rtake on the project.

This is the first loan the Solomon Islands has received from China since it switched diplomatic relations from Taiwan to Beijing. With this 20-year loan at a one percent annual interest rate, the pacific government aims to improve telecommunications infrastructure to provide mobile communications and Internet service in its rural areas for the first time in 30 years. 161 mobiles are expected to be built, 48 percent of which will be completed by November 2023, when the Solomon Islands will host the Pacific Games.

Internet penetration in the Solomon Islands is currently below 30 percent. In 2018, Australia became involved after the Solomon Islands government announced it would award the contract for underwater communications cables to Chinese telecom giant Huawei. The excuse was that Chinese companies could not be allowed to intervene in critical communications infrastructure due to national security concerns. The Australian government promised that, in exchange, it would be willing to cover part of the expenses for the cable laying.

Not long ago, during her visit to the Solomon Islands, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman promised that the U.S. will open an embassy in the Solomon Islands within the year.. Earlier Vice President Kamala Harris announced that the United States will provide $60 million in annual assistance to Pacific Islands.

Source: Sputnik New (Russia), August 20, 2022