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Agreement signed for Chinese funded Solomon Islands 2023 Pacific Games Stadium Project

Agreement signed for Chinese funded Solomon Islands 2023 Pacific Games Stadium Project
October 26, 2020

The Solomon Islands Government has advised that the Chinese funded 2023 Pacific Games Stadium Project in Solomon Islands is a step closer with the signing of an implementation agreement. A number of projects funded by China were scheduled to get underway this year, including the construction of a national stadium in Honiara, before the COVID-19 pandemic led to the closure of borders and travel restrictions.

The Solomon Islands Government notes that the construction of new venues for the Games was back on track, with a design team from China working with local authorities.

The project includes a 10,000-seat national stadium, an aquatic centre, a six-court tennis centre and a full-sized track and field venue.

The Solomon Islands government said it would be one of the largest infrastructure projects, funded and built by China in the Pacific.

China agreed to bankroll the multi-million-dollar stadium in Solomon Islands after the Pacific nation's diplomatic switch to China from Taiwan. After 36 years of ties with Taiwan, Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare switched his country's ties to Beijing last year (China encourages smaller nations whom it can influence to sever existing diplomatic ties with Taiwan).

As reported in the ABC, upon his return from a trip to China in October 2019, Prime Minister Sogavare confirmed China would provide a $74 million grant to build a new stadium for 2023 Pacific Games in the capital Honiara.

Solomon Islands Football Federation President William Lai was invited to be part of Prime Minister Sogavare’s delegation to Beijing and told ABC Radio “for the last two years there have been consultations between various committees over facility improvements.”

Taiwan had previously committed to funding the sports complex, but the Solomon Island’s political about-face placed the 12,000-seat stadium, and the games themselves in jeopardy.

Prime Minister Sogavare stressed the funding was a "grant" and not a "loan" aiming to validate the switch to China and quell unease about the diplomatic decision.

Pacific neighbour Papua New Guinea has also committed about $17 million to infrastructure for the sporting event, with the United Arab Emirates tipped to fund the aquatic centre and Indonesian state-owned construction enterprise PT Wijaya Karya (WIKA) officially signing a contract to build a multi-purpose sports complex estimated to cost $7.5 million catering for futsal, basketball and volleyball. 

The Solomon Islands beat Tahiti by one vote to win the rights to host the 17th Pacific Games in 2023. The decision was made after a vote by the 22 members of the Pacific Games Council at their general assembly in Vanuatu in 2016.

About the author

Karen Sweaney

Editor, Australasian Leisure Management

Artist, geoscientist and specialist writer on the leisure industry, Karen Sweaney is Editor of Australasian Leisure Management. Based in Sydney, Australia, her specific areas of interest include the arts, entertainment, the environment, fitness, tourism and wellness.

She has degrees in Fine Arts from the University of Sydney and Geological Oceanography from UNSW.

Read more from this author

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