The United States has stunned many in the Pacific, announcing it will partner with Australia in developing a joint naval base in Papua New Guinea.
The revelation was delivered during a stinging speech by American Vice President, MIke Pence at the APEC Summit, warning pacific nations not to accept over-burdensome loans from China -- loans often sneeringly referred to as 'debt diplomacy.'
"Today it's my privilege to announce that the United States will partner with PNG and Australian on their joint initiative on their base on Manus Island," he said.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison earlier foreshadowed the announcement in an earlier speech, "Australia is stepping up. We will step up. [We are] stepping up to a whole new level."
China would see this as an affront to their strategic ambitions in the Pacific region.