Asked what the difference between a Chinese and USA military base in the Pacific was, he said: "The difference would be China's original stated objective, which was for trade - that was what they wanted [the Belt and Road] for".
Vanuatu has angrily denied it is in talks with Beijing about a Chinese military base being built in the Pacific country.
"I remain confident that Australia is Vanuatu's strategic partner of choice", she said.
If the plan materializes, it will also be a threat to the United States as it would shake-up the country's dominance in the Pacific. "We are not interested in militarization, we are just not interested in any sort of military base in our country".
"We would view with great concern the establishment of any foreign military bases in those Pacific island countries and neighbours of ours", Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said.
HT Report: Real Madrid 0-0 Atletico They could well have the title wrapped up by the time they welcome Real Madrid to the Camp Nou for the Clasico next month. Real Madrid vs Atletico Madrid Live score Live streaming: Real Madrid look to boost their chances of a top four finish.
Migrant caravan drops plan to travel to US-Mexico border In a Thursday morning tweet, the president credits "the strong immigration laws of Mexico and their willingness to use them". They said that the size of the group of more than 1,000 people had made travel too hard , The Washington Post reported .
Australia has underlined its close ties with Vanuatu after a media report said Tuesday that the South Pacific island nation has been approached by China to host a military base.
"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 Charles Edel, a former adviser to former USA secretary of state John Kerry.
National leader Simon Bridges said it's not necessarily wrong when other countries invest in others' infrastructure.
"Militarisation and competition in the region is not something that is conducive to the sort of stable and prosperous region that we want", Senator Wong told the ABC.
Dr Cooper said with the U.S. focused on north Asia, Washington would expect Australia to stop the South Pacific from sliding too deeply into Beijing's hands.
Currently, China has only one military base in a foreign country, located in Djibouti on the Horn of Africa, but has been increasing its presence in the Pacific, especially in the South China Sea.
The claim has grown in relation to a recent Chinese-funded expansion of the wharf facility on Vanuatu's biggest island of Espiritu Santo being seen as a potential base.
Zack Cooper, a former White House and Pentagon official now at the Washington-based Centre for Strategic and International Studies, said he had expected China to establish bases in the Pacific and predicted more to follow.
Raikkonen tops Bahrain Grand Prix practice
Heading into Turn 2, he slid sideways off and thudded into the crash barriers, the left front wheel of his auto mangled. Both managed to take roughly two-tenths off their soft tyre runs when they swapped to the red-marked tyres.
Record-setter Nadal roars back, Italy hold France
France will host the winners of the tie between Spain and Germany, from 14-16 September, for a place in the Davis Cup final. The French came out on top in a dramatic match earlier in the day when Lucas Pouille defeated Andreas Seppi in five sets.
Huge Name Spotted In New Orleans Ahead Of WrestleMania 34
I would be real surprised if they swapped both top titles, and I'm just not sure Shinsuke Nakamura can carry the top title yet. Basically all of you agree Undertaker will show up - either as The Deadman or The American Badass - and take down Cena.
'Black Panther' to Break Saudi Arabia's 35-Year Cinema Ban
It will be the first film to screen to the public in a movie theater in the country since it lifted a 35-year cinema ban. Black Panther - starring Chadwick Boseman , Lupita Nyong'o, Letitia Wright, Danai Gurira, Daniel Kaluuya and Michael B.
One killed in Trump Tower fire, USA president reacts
Firefighters reported smoke throughout tower and inspected Trump's residence but did not say if it was damaged. According to ABC 7, New York's ABC affiliate, investigators are working to determine the cause of the fire.