China no different to Vanuatu's other partners, says Salwai

Vanuatu's caretaker prime minister denies that his government made extra concessions to China.

As Vanuatu prepares for its general election next month, Charlot Salwai is taking stock of being one of the few Vanuatu prime ministers to have lasted a full parliamentary term in power.

During the four-year term, the his coalition government signed Vanuatu on for co-operation under China's Belt and Road Initiative. Several infrastructure projects also began or were completed with Chinese funding.

However, analysts warned that one of these projects, a wharf in Luganville, could be later used as a Chinese military installation if Vanuatu failed to meet its repayment obligations.

A recent Lowy Institute report identified Vanuatu as one of the countries most heavily indebted to China.

Vanuatu's opposition leader Ishmael Kalsakau accuses the Salwai government of compromising the country's sovereignty through its relationship with China.

"It's got more to do with our inability to govern than with the influences of a hegemonic power," Mr Kalsakau said.

However, Mr Salwai claimed that Vanuatu's relationship with China was no different to those with other development partners.

"We are doing our best to maintain our relationship with all those we have diplomatic relations [with], so all international organisations and all development partners who are supporting us," he said.

"So we don't do something very special only for China. We do the same with all countries."