US to partner in Papua New Guinea military base: Pence

File photo. Photograph:( AFP )

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Nov 17, 2018, 08.57 AM (IST)

The United States will join forces with Australia in the development of a new naval base to be built in Papua New Guinea, US Vice President Mike Pence said Saturday.

Australia has announced plans to redevelop PNG's Lombrum Naval Base on Manus island, in what is seen as a move to curb China's influence in the Pacific.

"The United States will partner with Papua New Guinea and Australia on their joint initiative at Lombrum Naval Base," Pence said ahead of a regional summit. "We will work with these two nations to protect sovereignty and maritime rights in the Pacific Islands. "

Menawhile, Pence said on Friday the South China Sea does not belong to any one nation and the United States will continue to sail and fly wherever international law allows, comments sure to rile China which claims the strategic sea route.

The United States has conducted a series of "freedom of navigation" exercises in the contested South China Sea, angering Beijing, which says the moves threaten its sovereignty.

Story highlights

Australia has announced plans to redevelop PNG's Lombrum Naval Base on Manus island , in what is seen as a move to curb China's influence in the Pacific.