World News

Australia and New Zealand warn China against Vanuatu base

Australia and New Zealand warn China against Vanuatu base

It would have significant implications for Australia's defence capabilities and strategy if a military base were to be built, experts say, although they say the plans are likely to be incremental.

"I think there's no question that Australia needs to redouble its efforts to persuade Vanuatu and other Pacific island nations that Australia is and should remain their preferred security partner and development partner".

The suggestion that China was looking to establish a base in the South Pacific nation, as first reported by Fairfax Media Tuesday, was met with denials from both Vanuatu and Australian government officials.

In Beijing, China's defense ministry said the claim "completely did not accord with the facts", while a foreign ministry spokesman described it as "fake news".

Australia has always been watching with caution as China deepens its influence on the Pacific Island, undertaking several infrastructure projects and providing aid and financing to small, developing island nations in the region.

There are other signs, the report pointed out, that can be interpreted as China gaining prominence in the South Pacific, such as "Taiwanese trade offices closing in the region".

Echoing the official's thoughts, Australian foreign minister, Julie Bishop, told the ABC that Canberra and Port Vila maintained relations by choice and the latter would not prefer to indulge China in such discussions.

The statement came after a report suggested that Beijing was pushing the proposal, sparking concern in Australia and New Zealand.




"We would view with great concern the establishment of any foreign military bases in those Pacific island countries and neighbors of ours", Turnbull told reporters.

"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 U.S. secretary of state John Kerry. "We are not interested in militarisation, we are just not interested in any sort of military base in our country".

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.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said Vanuatu also assured his government that "no such request has been made" by China.

Smith noted that Vanuatu Prime Minister Charlot Salwai had visited China twice since being elected in 2016 but had yet to visit Australia, "partly because of him not being given priority on the Australian side".

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.

Beijing has been providing funding for the nation of about 270,000 people for new civic buildings, a wharf and airport upgrades, it said.

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


  • 1 killed in fire at Trump Tower

    1 killed in fire at Trump Tower

    Six firefighters from the local fire department were also injured while trying to tame the blaze, departmental sources said. Trump tweeted at 6:42 p.m. that the fire was under control, as he boasted about the building's construction.
    Cosby defence says jury selection discriminatory

    Cosby defence says jury selection discriminatory

    But it remains unclear how long it will take to pick the jurors, who will be sequestered through the length of the trial. The defense will also be allowed to disclose how much money Cosby paid Constand in a 2006 civil settlement.
    United States  gathers biometric data on migrants in Mexican jails

    United States gathers biometric data on migrants in Mexican jails

    It also reiterates the "fundamental importance of respecting the dignity and human rights of the Mexicans in the United States ". In both operations, about 30,000 members of the National Guard were deployed along the border with similar aims.
  • Palestinian woman shot by Israeli sniper in east of Gaza: Maan

    On 30 March, Israeli forces killed 19 Palestinians as tens of thousands of protesters gathered at the Israeli border. In a statement on Saturday, the Palestinian ministry said 79 injured Palestinians were in a serious condition.
    Salman Khan returns home to hero's welcome

    Salman Khan returns home to hero's welcome

    Bollywood star Salman Khan has been granted bail after initially being jailed for killing rare antelopes 20 years ago. Defence counsel pronounced the order after hearing on his bail plea and suspension of sentence in the case.
    Twitch Announces Overwatch League All-Access Pass

    Twitch Announces Overwatch League All-Access Pass

    Perhaps the biggest bonus for fans of the Overwatch League players will be the chance to submit questions to Match Day AMAs . The mission takes players eight years into the past on a Blackwatch mission with Reaper, Moira , Genji , and McCree .
  • This may be your first look at OnePlus 6 smartphone

    This may be your first look at OnePlus 6 smartphone

    Also, in a recent teaser and the forum section, the company had officially confirmed the "6" moniker for its next smartphone. Now we get a better look at the front thanks to a rendered image of the front panel appeared during the weekend.
    Tour Bus Crash-Masters,6th Ld-Writethru, US

    Tour Bus Crash-Masters,6th Ld-Writethru, US

    Plowman said the bus careened off the road and spun around one and a half times before skidding on its side a good distance. The bus driver, Steven Hoppenbrouwer, 61, of Gwinnett County, Georgia, was charged with DUI and a failure to maintain lane.
    Governors Could be Powerless to Deny National Guard Border Deployments

    Governors Could be Powerless to Deny National Guard Border Deployments

    Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen has said that the administration hopes to send National Guard troops "immediately". Although, the National Guard does a lot of domestic missions, Hawkins says it won't interfere with the work at home.
  • Tony Cottee: 'West Ham United were poor against Chelsea'

    Tony Cottee: 'West Ham United were poor against Chelsea'

    His introduction to the game was certainly key for West Ham to get their goal, with Arnautovic struggling as a lone striker. West Ham are scheduled to face off against Stoke, Arsenal, Manchester City, Leicester, Manchester United , and Everton.
    Nadal swats Zverev aside to keep Spain alive

    Nadal swats Zverev aside to keep Spain alive

    David Ferrer will face Kohlschreiber in the decider, with Spain eyeing a place in the semi-finals for the first time since 2012. Noah added: "It came down to a few points in the third set".
    Mike Myers Reprises Dr. Evil Role in Funny 'Tonight Show' Sketch

    Mike Myers Reprises Dr. Evil Role in Funny 'Tonight Show' Sketch

    Evil! The super villain is getting revenge on the prez after he was sacked from the White House. When quizzed on his accomplishments while on the job, he replied, "All the evil stuff was me".