Vanuatu PM reassures Aust PM that there will be no Chinese base

Following reports that security officials were worried about China's intentions in Vanuatu, Charlot Salwai met Australia's Malcolm Turnbull in London ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.

Mr Salwai said he has worked in government for 27 years, as an adviser and MP, and the idea of a Chinese military base has never been raised.

He told reporters that he attended a lot of meetings and it was never in any negotiations.

Mr Salwai ruled out any plans for a Chinese base in his country, and said he raised it with Mr Turnbull in their bilateral meeting.

Vanuatu foreign minister denies China military base claim

Ralph Regenvanu's comment follows reports in Fairfax media citing "preliminary discussions" between Vanuatu and China about a "military build-up" in the Pacific country.

The claim has grown in relation to a recent Chinese-funded expansion of the wharf facility on Vanuatu's biggest island of Espiritu Santo being seen as a potential base.

However, Mr Regenvanu told the ABC the reports were false, and that no one in the government had ever talked about a Chinese base of any sort in Vanuatu.

Trump keen to meet Kim after 'successful' China talks

But Mr Trump said maximum sanctions and pressure on North Korea would continue ahead of proposed talks in May.

He added that denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula was now a possibility.

The comments follow Mr Kim's meeting with China's President Xi Jinping, in his first known foreign trip since taking office in 2011.

Mr Kim and his wife were greeted with a banquet and a guard of honour, with the North Korean leader reportedly saying he was committed to denuclearisation. China is North Korea's main economic ally.

NZ not competing with China in Pacific

On Monday, Ardern pledged the government would dedicate almost $10 million in aid and support for Samoa.

She told Morning Report that regardless of what other countries were doing, New Zealand should exercise its duties and responsibilities as partners and friends in the Pacific.

Australian Minister accuses China of funding 'roads that go nowhere' in Pacific

Australian officials are increasingly worried by China's growing presence in the Pacific, and the way it is using concessional loans to bolster its influence.

They have also privately accused China of trying to win favour by funding projects which funnel money directly to leaders in the region.

Minister for International Development and the Pacific Concetta Fierravanti-Wells told The Australian newspaper that China was constructing "useless buildings" in the Pacific.

US blocks sale of Moneygram to China's Ant Financial

It is the highest profile Chinese deal to be rejected by Washington since Donald Trump came to power.

Regulators overseeing foreign investments in the US had refused to support the takeover, the firms said.

The geopolitical environment had "changed considerably" since the merger was announced last year, they added.


The collapse is a blow to the ambitions of Alibaba's billionaire executive chairman Jack Ma, who had promised President Trump that he would create a million US jobs.

Skype removed from China Apple and Android app stores

Apple says it is one of several apps to have been removed after the government said it does not comply with local law.

Skype owner Microsoft told the BBC the app had been "temporarily removed" and the company was "working to reinstate the app as soon as possible".

The app is also no longer available for download on Android app stores in China.

Media reports suggest the disruption to Skype started in October.

In China, free fish heads for life for an underwater rescuer

Liu Xinting was driving on his lunch break from work when an oncoming car swerved off the road and into a lake.

Mr Liu dived in to the lake as the car sank, rescuing all four people inside including a pregnant woman.

Hearing of the rescue, a local company offered the unusual fish head reward.

"There was no time for me to think or be scared, the fastest thing I could do was save lives," Mr Liu told the local Hangzhou Daily.

"It is hazardous to jump into the water without taking off your shoes and clothes," he said. "But the situation was too urgent."

Increased meth production in China aimed at Oceania

The head of the secretariat, Seve Paeniu, said it believed this stems from a significant increase in production in China, driven by demand for the drug in Australia and New Zealand.

Mr Paeniu said countries in Micronesia and Melanesia were also experiencing an increase in the use of methamphetamines, with a resulting rise in criminal acitivity and accompanying societal issues.

He said efforts to combat the trend had uncovered both local and foreign involvement in the illegal trade alongside the increase in criminals being deported in the region.

Trump in China for talks with Xi amid N Korea tensions

His arrival came after a speech to the South Korean parliament in which Mr Trump urged China to further isolate North Korea.

The White House sees China as pivotal in reining in the North's nuclear aims but Beijing says it is doing enough.

Chinese President Xi Jinping gave a lavish welcome to Mr Trump in what has been called a "state visit-plus".

Before his visit, Mr Trump piled praise on Mr Xi, saying he was looking forward to meeting the Chinese president after "his great political victory".