Vanuatu president says he asked for US embassy, not military base

Vanuatu's State House has denied reports that the president asked for a US military base to be established in the country.

The Daily Post newspaper yesterday reported Tallis Obed Moses making the request in a speech to members of the US Peace Corps.

Mentioning the large US base on Luganville in the Second World War, President Moses reportedly asked the US to consider returning to Vanuatu.

But State House said he asked for the US to consider opening an embassy in Vanuatu, not a military base.

Vanuatu's currently covered by the US Embassy in Papua New Guinea.

The government of Prime Minister Charlot Salwai stressed it did not want any foreign military presence, especially in light of Australian reports about China seeking to establish a base in Vanuatu.

The position of Vanuatu's president is mainly ceremonial.