Australian prime minister backs security treaty with Vanuatu

Australia's prime minister has brushed off Vanuatu's resistance to a bilateral security treaty after a meeting in the South Pacific island nation that comes amid concerns about growing Chinese influence in the region

CANBERRA, Australia -- Australia's prime minister has brushed off Vanuatu's resistance to a bilateral security treaty after a meeting in the South Pacific island nation that comes amid concerns about growing Chinese influence in the region.

The Vanuatu Daily Post reported Tuesday that Vanuatu Foreign Minister Ralph Regenvanu said his government colleagues "haven't responded positively yet" to Australia's proposal for a bilateral treaty.

Morrison told reporters in Port Vila that a bilateral security treaty was still an option.

Vanuatu officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.