Published: Tue, April 10, 2018
Worldwide | By Sean Reid

Vanuatu says no to China military base

Vanuatu says no to China military base

While far from key shipping lanes and not as important as Indian Ocean ports, Vanuatu would put China close to the coast of Australia, a major USA ally, and give it a presence nearer the US base of Guam beyond the Asian island chains that hem in Beijing.

New Zealand-based security scholar Marc Lanteigne said the Fairfax report, while unconfirmed, was "a wake up call" to Australia, New Zealand and the United States.

If China were to build a base in the South Pacific, it would be only the second after the recent establishment of a logistics facility in the global Indian Ocean port of Djibouti.

Labor foreign affairs spokeswoman Penny Wong said if the report was correct the base would be a "potential game changer for the region and for Australia", with security and economic implications.

However, Mr Regenvanu told the ABC the reports were false, and that no one in the government had ever talked about a Chinese base of any sort in Vanuatu.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang also shot down the speculation at a regular press briefing in Beijing on Tuesday, calling it "fake news".

Ms Bishop said while China was investing in infrastructure around the world, in had to date only established one military base - in Djibouti in northern Africa.

He said foreign investment by other countries in the Pacific was "not necessarily a wrong".

Vanuatu, around 1,200 miles east of northern Australia, was home to a key US Navy base during the Second World War that helped beat back the Japanese army as it advanced through the Pacific towards Australia.

Jack Nicklaus says grandson's hole-in-one at Masters means 'everything'
It is headed to the Augusta Regional Airport, and it cuts an intriguing figure against the otherwise still morning. But I do know that we get an annual reminder that the thread that runs through this sport is long and storied.

Condition of Sergei Skripal 'improving rapidly'
Malcolm Sperrin, a medical physicist, said that a longterm prognosis for the Skripals remained somewhat uncertain. The British government insists that only Russian Federation had the capability to carry out the attack.

Justice Department Sues Founders of Mayweather-Backed ICO
That claim would later be referenced in the SEC's complaint as well as the filings submitted by the Justice Department. According to SEC's complaint , Farkas was arrested as he was preparing to board a flight and leave the U.S.

Ni, however, said he did not consider Vanuatu a natural choice for a military base given the great distance from China would make it hard to provide operational support in waters it did not control. Beijing describes it as a logistics facility.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said she was also unaware of any Chinese military plans in Vanuatu.

"I would hope the upsurge in the paranoia about China in Australia is not used to destroy or denigrate the good relationship Vanuatu has with Australia", he said.

Vanuatu's high commissioner in Canberra, Kalfau Kaloris, was quoted as saying his country's foreign ministry was "not aware" of China's determination to build a permanent presence on the island.

New Zealand Prime Minster Jacinda Ardern said her country takes "a strong position in the Pacific against militarization".

Beijing responded that it "fully respects the will of the Pacific islands' governments and their people" and that development aid "has brought real benefits to local people".

"I think it is important that Australia appreciate that China is far away but Chinese activity is definitely affecting Australia in a much more proximate way".

"If it turns out there are one or more Chinese bases. what it has the ability to do is challenge, and make much more challenging, American access into the region", said Dr Charles Edel, a former adviser to former U.S. secretary of state John Kerry.

Like this: