Over the past decade China has been stuck in an inventory stockpiling and mercantilist process tolling mode, even as it has been posturing about expanding its middle class. Well, the Chinese empire may be finally hinting at what the "next steps" may be. FT reports that Chinese real estate tycoon and former Chinese Central Propaganda Department official Huang Nubo, has struck a deal to acquire 300 square kilometers of "wilderness in north-east Iceland where he plans to build an eco-tourism resort and golf course." That, at least, is the party line. Nobody however is buying it: "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." And after securing a landing area equidistant from Europe and the US, China will next proceed to purchase bits and pieces of Greece, Spain, Ireland, Portugal, etc. After all, the nouveau-IMF piper ultimately always demands his price for keeping the western world ponzi alive and running for a few more months.
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.
Ögmundur Jónasson, the Icelandic interior minister, who would be responsible for the decision, signalled concern over the plan. “China has been very active in buying up land around the world so we need to be aware of the international ramifications,” he told the Financial Times.
In addition to its proximity to potential deepwater ports, the land also includes one of Iceland’s biggest glacial rivers.
Mr Huang, who previously worked at China’s Central Propaganda Department and the Ministry of Construction, has sought to reassure Icelanders over his intentions by pledging to renounce all rights to water running through the land.
People familiar with the deal said that Mr Huang had agreed to pay almost IKr1bn ($8.8m) for the land and planned to invest IKr10bn-IKr20bn in the tourism project.
More on Huang:
Mr Huang is ranked by Forbes as China’s 161st richest man, with a net worth of $890m. His company, Zhongkun Group, owns resorts and tourist facilities across China. He describes himself as a poet and adventurer, having climbed Mount Everest and reached the north and south poles.
People close to him say his interest in Iceland is motivated by his love of nature rather than geopolitics.
And on China's "close" ties with Iceland:
China last year agreed a $500m currency swap deal with Iceland which was widely viewed as a sign of Beijing’s desire to build links with Reykjavik. The two countries are already discussing co-operation on Arctic shipping as part of Beijing’s broader interest in the potential to ship goods to Europe and the US east coast across the North Pole as Arctic ice recedes.
The land that Mr Huang intends to buy is in the vicinity of a deepwater port, although the land itself does not include any coastline, according to a person familiar with the deal.
We are confident that imminent Chinese annexations of various Greek, and soon other, territorial interests in exchange for worthless pieces of paper, will also be predicated out of a love for nature.
And when that soundbite fails, there is always the trusty, and far more accurate, fallback: Lebensraum.