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undergroundnewsroom.com April 25, 2018


Vanuatu and China deny holding military base talks

10 April 2018, 07:57 | Damon Campbell

AP Chinese President Xi Jinping and Djibouti's President Ismail Omar struck a deal to establish China's first overseas naval base in Africa

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Djibouti's President Ismail Omar struck a deal to establish China's first overseas

The plan has also caught Australia's eye as a military base in Vanuatu would mean Chinese army deployed less than 2,000 kilometers away from the Australian coast.

Australia has warned Vanuatu against any moves to allow a greater Chinese military presence in the Pacific nation.

No formal proposal for the base has been made, but discussions between the Chinese and Vanuatu governments are taking place, the Sydney Morning Herald Reports.

Commenting on the issue, a spokesman for the Chinese ambassador to Vanuatu said the reports were "ridiculous", while Chinese Foreign Ministry dubbed them as "fake news".

During the speech to the Lowry Institute, Peters said New Zealand was undergoing a Pacific "reset" and asked Australia work alongside it in the region.

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.

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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.

Is Australia set to join Asean as China's assertiveness grows?

"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.



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