Reports surfaced this week that the Chinese governments is in negotiations with the small South Pacific archipelago nation of Vanuatu to host a new PLA military base. The reports have since been denied by the government of Vanuatu, which maintains that it has never discussed a military base and plans to remain a non-aligned nation.
The prospect of a Chinese military base in the South Pacific comes as a shock to the Australian establishment, even drawing comment from Prime Minister Turnbull himself, who declared “we would view with great concern the establishment of any foreign military bases in those Pacific Island countries and neighbors of ours.”
Vanuatu, an archipelago of some 80 islands with a GDP per capita of approx. USD $2,800, is located some 2,000 km away from the northeast coast of Australia.