Chinese tycoon says no politics behind Iceland project

BEIJING,  (Reuters) – A Chinese tycoon who plans to  build a resort on an isolated patch of land in Iceland said on  Wednesday that there were no political motives behind the  project, after its strategic location raised security concerns  in the island nation.

Huang Nubo, chairman of the private real estate company  Zhongkun Investment Group, which has reached a preliminary  agreement with local owners to buy a 300 square kilometre farm,  told Chinese state media his plan to build a green tourism  venture was strictly business.

“The project is a purely commercial move and has no  connection with politics. The concerns are groundless,” Huang  said, according to China’s official new agency, Xinhua.

Huang, a poetry-writing millionaire and former Chinese  government official, reached a deal for 1 billion crowns ($8.8  million) to buy the Grimsstadir farm in the North Atlantic  nation, where he hopes to build a golf course, a hotel and an  outdoor recreation area.

Listed 161st on the Forbes list of the richest Chinese in  2010, Huang worked for the Chinese Communist Party’s Propaganda  Department and the Ministry of Construction in the 1980s and  early 1990s.

This part of his resume have made some uneasy about his  intentions for the tract of land, which experts have said could  give China a strategic foothold for its geo-political interests  in the region.

“I was an ordinary official then and quit the government  jobs a long time ago. It is absurd to draw the conclusion that  my company has government support,” Xinhua reported him as  saying.

The deal still requires the approval of Iceland’s  government.

Analysts told Reuters earlier that security concerns are  centred around Iceland’s strategic mid-Atlantic location between  Europe and the United States, and its proximity to the Arctic  where a number of nations are competing to make resource claims  could not be ignored.

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