Australia and Vanuatu to negotiate security treaty

June 24, 2018 - 11:17 pm

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia says it will negotiate a security treaty with Vanuatu, weeks after the Australian prime minister warned China against building a military base on the South Pacific island nation.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced the negotiations during a visit to the Australian Parliament House on Monday by Vanuatu Prime Minister Charlot Salwai Tabimasmas.

A Vanuatu government spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday.

China and Vanuatu denied media reports in May that the Chinese had approached the former joint British-French colony about building a permanent military presence in the South Pacific.

Turnbull said at the time Australia "would view with great concern the establishment of any foreign military bases in those Pacific island countries and neighbors of ours."

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