August 29, 2011 9:00 pm
Chinese tycoon seeks to buy tract of Iceland
A Chinese tycoon plans to buy a vast tract of Icelandic land for a $100m tourism project which critics fear could give Beijing a strategic foothold in the North Atlantic.
Huang Nubo, a real estate investor and former Chinese government official, has struck a provisional deal to acquire 300 square kilometres of wilderness in north-east Iceland where he plans to build an eco-tourism resort and golf course.
Opponents have questioned why such a large amount of land – equal to about 0.3 per cent of Iceland’s total area – is needed to build a hotel. They warned that the project could provide cover for China’s geopolitical interests in the Atlantic island nation and Nato member.
While home to just 320,000 people, Iceland occupies a strategically important location between Europe and North America and has been touted as a potential hub for Asian cargo should climate change open Arctic waters to shipping.
The deal has been agreed with private landowners but must still be approved by the Icelandic government, which owns part of the land, which is known as Grímsstadir á Fjöllum.
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