"We have very good relationships with Vanuatu and I remain confident that Australia is Vanuatu's strategic partner of choice".
Bateman said Chinese involvement in the South Pacific could upend the status quo, where Australia and New Zealand take a lead role in the Pacific Islands Forum.
"I believe that this is why we have to step up as a country, and do a whole lot more in the Pacific, we should've been doing it for a long time".
"But we of course keep a watching eye on activity within the Pacific and New Zealand is opposed to the militarisation of the Pacific generally".
The head of the national security college at the Australian National University, Prof Rory Medcalf, said any foreign power establishing a foothold in the South Pacific would represent "a long-term failure of Australian policy".
"But when you're talking military, and these sorts of things, you'd want to think it through pretty carefully", he said.
Turnbull said in a press conference Tuesday the High Commissioner of Vanuatu had assured the Australian government no Chinese requests for a military presence had been made.
"We've got to be careful with these things, the Pacific is a very peaceful place, Vanuatu is a country New Zealand has a strong relationship with, I'm sure the Government will want to talk to them about their views before anything goes ahead".
"If it turns out there are one or more Chinese bases. what it has the ability to do is challenge, and make much more challenging, American access into the region", the Sydney Morning Herald quoted Charles Edel, a former adviser to former U.S. secretary of state John Kerry, as saying.
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This arrangement could then be built on, it added, with intelligence and security figures in Australia, New Zealand and the United States becoming increasingly anxious about China's growing influence.
Dr Cooper said with the USA focused on north Asia, Washington would expect Australia to stop the South Pacific from sliding too deeply into Beijing's hands. The Djibouti base features a port, helicopter base, hangars and accommodation for up to 10,000 troops.
The move could potentially upset the delicate strategic balance in the region.
The ability for China to dock warships and refuel on what would be their first Pacific base has rung alarm bells among Australian security chiefs, as well as New Zealand and United States officials, who are said to be monitoring the situation, Fairfax says.
McClay said the USA had military research bases in the Pacific, which had been there since World War II, but no-one would want to see more countries moving military bases, or weapons, into the Pacific. As the reports of a possible Chinese military base in Vanuatu spread in global media, experts also weighed in on the impact of such a base.
That has stoked fears that Australia's long-time influence in the region is being eroded.
"What those countries are looking to us and other nations for is investment in economic infrastructure and social infrastructure". That's not necessarily a wrong.
"When you start talking about the possibilities of military bases ... this is not the stability this country needs."