There has been speculation that China would build a naval facility in Vanuatu. They have port rights now but do not have something with a Chinese naval ensign floating over it in the tropical breeze in that country.
The PRC Explains: “China does not need a base in Vanuatu because it already has the access it needs. It constructed a large wharf at the deep-water port of Espiritu Santo. Chinese navy ships and a hospital ship make regular visits to Port Vila, the capital.”
Today, Vanuatu’s foreign minister denied an Australian news report that China and Vanuatu discussed construction of a naval base at Port Vila..
Until 1980, when it became independent, Vanuatu was known as the New Hebrides, an Anglo-French colony. It contains more than 280,000 people, according to the CIA World Factbook. The main economic activity is tourism. Per capita GDP is about $2,800.
If Vanuatu should default on its debt to China, a Chinese company might offer to take ownership of the port
China made a co-ownership deal with Sri Lanka to pay for the port of Hambantota, which China built for the Colombo government. A Chinese company owns 70% of the port and manages it.
New Zealand and Australia are the dominant military powers in the South Pacific, but Chinese naval and research ships have become more assertive during the past 20 years. The Chinese have concentrated their investments in eight island nations, primarily in a limited number of large infrastructure projects, such as ports and airports.
Meanwhile in Los Angeles
(news you may have missed)