In October, the New York Times reported that China had leased the island of Tulagi, prized for its deep-water harbor, from the Solomon Islands, which lie northeast of Australia. While the Solomon Islands government has said such a lease is illegal, it set alarm bells ringing internationally, coming less than a week after the country severed relations with Taipei and turned to Beijing.
It appears that China had offered investment to the Solomon Islands as an incentive to switch. There was a rumored $500 million package of aid for the country, but no targets have yet been confirmed beyond the commitment to continue some of Taiwan's projects, such as a new national stadium in the capital, Honiara. A Chinese company also reopened a gold mine -- considered by many not to be economically viable -- to great fanfare.