U.S. joins Australian plan to develop new Pacific naval base
ROUGH CUT - NO REPORTER NARRATION The United States will join Pacific ally Australia to build a naval base on Papua New Guinea's Manus Island, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said, amid a push by regional powers to lock in alliances and secure access to key infrastructure.
The plan, which comes on the heels of China's emergence as a possible developer of the deep-water site, was unveiled on Saturday (November 17) at a Asia-Pacific forum hosted by Papua New Guinea where world leaders voiced competing visions on how trade should be conducted in the region.
Analysts say a Chinese presence on Manus Island could impact the West's ability to navigate the Pacific while offering Beijing close access to U.S. bases in Guam.
Manus Island was a major U.S. naval base during the Second World War, playing a key role in Washington's Pacific strategy.
Recently, it has hosted one of Australia's two controversial offshore immigration detention centres.