CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia's prime minister has brushed off Vanuatu's resistance to a bilateral security treaty after a meeting in the South Pacific island nation that comes amid concerns about growing Chinese influence in the region.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Tuesday became the only Australian leader to visit Vanuatu apart from Prime Minister Bob Hawke in 1990. But Hawke was in the capital Port Vila to attend the Pacific Islands Forum, and not for a bilateral meeting.
The Vanuatu Daily Post reported Tuesday that Vanuatu Foreign Minister Ralph Regenvanu said his government colleagues "haven't responded positively yet" to Australia's proposal for a bilateral treaty.
Morrison told reporters in Port Vila that a bilateral security treaty was still an option.
Vanuatu officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.