“I have made the call before and I am making it again, that you (US) were here in World War Two and built your base here. I want you to reconsider returning to build your base here in Vanuatu again”.
The Head of State, President Obed Moses Tallis made the call to conclude his keynote address on behalf of the Government at the swearing in of 36 new US Peace Corps volunteers at the Chiefs Nakamal yesterday.
He touched on historical truth that the US were in the then New Hebrides where they built their largest military base in the Pacific islands in Luganville.
The base held a quarter of a million soldiers, which successfully turned the tide against Japan’s imperial army up north in the Solomons.
This time President Tallis used the opportunity to congratulate the newly graduated volunteers, and to also invite the American Government to consider catering for history to repeat itself in the form of a new American military base to be built in the country.
His invitation comes not long after reports appeared in the Australian media of an alleged plan to allow the Chinese to build a Chinese military base in Vanuatu.
The reported rumour had since then been vehemently denied by both Prime Minister Charlot Salwai and Port Vila-based Chinese Ambassador Liu Quan.
On her latest bilateral visit to Vanuatu this week, US Ambassador Catherine Ebert-Gray was also asked if she had by any chance discussed the same rumour with relevant Government leaders but she denied that her visit had anything to do with it.
The Ambassador said, “In fact we were quite surprise to hear the rumour about a Chinese base. It’s no doubt that China is growing. China has a need for resources and it is increasing its military presence.
“The job of the United States and Vanuatu’s job is to make them a good neighbour and make sure they abide by international conventions and we look after the interests of Vanuatu.
“The Government of Vanuatu needs to be sure that they are well aware of the long term impacts of the agreements that they make and the United States needs to be sure that there is a balance of power in the region”.