New York: A Chinese tycoon is said to have struck a deal to buy a huge tract of Icelandic land for USD 100 million eco-tourism project, giving rise to fears that Beijing may be acquiring a strategic foothold in North Atlantic.

Huang Nubo, a real estate investor and former Chinese government official, has sealed 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, a daily reported.

Huang's deal would give him almost control of 0.3 percent of Iceland's total area and the project comes amidst reports that the country is being touted as a potential hub for Asian cargo, should a climate change agreement open Arctic waters to shipping.

The deal by the Chinese tycoon, ranked as his nation's 161st richest man by Forbes, has reportedly been agreed with landowners, but is still to be approved by the Iceland government as well as China.

Ogmundur Jonasson, 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 said.

China last year agreed to a USD 500 million currency swap deal with Iceland, which the daily said was widely viewed as a sign of Beijing's desire to build links with Reykjavik.

The two countries are already discussing cooperation on Arctic shipping as part of Beijing's border interest in the potential to ship goods to Europe and the US east coast across the North Pole as Arctic ice recedes.

(Agencies)