Malcolm Turnbull used talks in London overnight to reassure Prime Minister of Vanuatu – of Australia’s reliability as a partner following revelations of preliminary discussions with China to establish a military base on Vanuatu.
Mr Turnbull, who said last week that any such move would be a direct threat to regional peace and stability, expressed such views to Vanuatu’s Prime Minister Charlot Salwai.
Mr Salwai assured Mr Turnbull he had no plans of allowing China to establish a military footprint in his country.
“I rule out, I rule out,” he said after the meeting.
“Vanuatu was never dreaming to become a military base one day. It is not in our culture, it is not in our tradition.”
According to reports, Mr Salwai had no idea that Luganville Wharf was going to be use one day for military purposes, and was cheaper than a separate port the Japanese funded.
He said the wharf funded by the Japanese was ” more expensive than the one we got the loan from China”.
“The one in Port Vila, its more expensive and was built from a concessional loan from Japan.”
Prime Minister Salwai is in London for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.