Australia and China have both expressed their intentions to strengthen engagement and enhance cooperation with the Melanesian sub-region.
The two countries were invited as 'special guests' by the Vanuatu Prime Minister as the host and chair of the 22nd Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Leaders' Summit taking place in Port Vila this week.
China's ambassador to Vanuatu, Li Minggang said Beijing wants to cooperate with the MSG in economic matters, investment, tourism, climate change, health, and policing, among other areas.
Li said China provides genuine support to Pacific countries to achieve independent and sustainable development.
He said China has carried out over 100 assistance projects, provided more than 200 batches of supplies, sent over 600 medical personnel, and mentored more than 10,000 professionals in all areas of the Pacific.
He said the world's second-largest economy will continue to help Pacific Island countries based on equal treatment and win-win cooperation.
The Australian government said it has been transparent with the Pacific about its policies on defence aimed at maintaining peace in the region.
Australia's special envoy for the Pacific, Ewen McDonald, told the meeting in Port Vila that when it comes to the acquisition of nuclear-powered submarines, Australia will act consistently with its international obligations, including those under the Treaty of Rarotonga.
He said Australia is strongly committed to the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone.
McDonald said it will not acquire nuclear weapons and will meet the highest environmental and nuclear safety standards.
He said Canberra is committed to transparency and keeping the situation updated through talanoa and tok stori on regional security.
"Australia stands ready to do more to support your priorities on security, bilaterally, within the MSG and the Pacific Island Forum, in line with the Boe Declaration and its priorities," the special envoy said.
And he told the leaders Australia will not dump radioactive materials in the Pacific.
China's ambassador made a similar statement: "For the benefit of our future, China is willing to join Pacific Island countries in opposing to dispose nuclear-contaminated water and protecting the marine environment," Li Minggang said.
Meanwhile, Japan plans to start discharging treated nuclear wastewater from Thursday afternoon local time, in what authorities said was not a dump but a controlled release.