Plan to sell privately owned Pacific islands raises security concerns in Australia

The Conflict Islands have a land mass of about 375ha and have the potential for a 3,000-km runway. PHOTO: CONFLICT ISLANDS PARADISE IN THE CORAL SEA/FACEBOOK
The Conflict Islands have a land mass of about 375ha and have the potential for a 3,000-km runway. PHOTO: CONFLICT ISLANDS PARADISE IN THE CORAL SEA/FACEBOOK
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SYDNEY - The potential sale of a privately owned group of tiny islands off the coast of northern Australia has sparked a controversy over concerns that they could be bought by China and may then pose a security risk to Australia.

The Conflict Islands, which are in waters just off the coast of Papua New Guinea, were bought by retired Australian entrepreneur Ian Gowrie-Smith from an American couple in 2003 for a reported sum of US$25 million.

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