Vanuatu’s prime minister Charlot Salwai has met his Australian counterpart and reiterated that his government will not allow China to build a military base on its shores.
PM Salwai met Australia’s Malcolm Turnbull in London ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, RNZI reports.
Mr Salwai said he has worked in government for 27 years, as an adviser and MP, and the idea of a Chinese military base has never been raised. He told reporters that he attended a lot of meetings and it was never in any negotiations.
Mr Salwai ruled out any plans for a Chinese base in his country, and said he raised it with Mr Turnbull in their bilateral meeting. He said he assured Mr Turnbull that Vanuatu was never dreaming of becoming a military base as it was not in their culture or tradition.
Mr Salwai had conceded China was building a wharf in Vanuatu funded by a concessional loan, but he said that is because the loan was cheaper than the one Japan had offered.