Is China changing the ‘rules’ in the Pacific Islands?

By Joanne Wallis*

The report this week that China is in talks to build a military base in Vanuatu has generated consternation in Australia, with Malcolm Turnbull expressing his ‘great concern’ about the potential militarisation of the Pacific Islands.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has since stated that she has no knowledge of such talks, Vanuatu’s Foreign Minister Ralph Regenvanu has both denied and criticised the report, and the Chinese government has described the report as ‘ridiculous’.

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