Canberra needs to get very serious, very quickly, to counter this move by a master strategist

On the global chessboard of power politics, the advent of a Chinese military base in the South Pacific would be the equivalent of Australia being placed in check.

If the government of Vanuatu were to agree to host a permanent base for an expanding Chinese military, “it would signal a pretty significant failure of Australia’s long-term security policy,” observes the head of ANU’s National Security College, Rory Medcalf.

Ever since Japan’s campaign in World War II, “it’s been an unspoken objective of Australian defence and foreign policy for 70 years to ensure that no other power could project force against Australia from the South Pacific,” he says.

A glance at the map shows that there is nothing between Vanuatu and Queensland bar the Coral Sea.

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