Solomon Islands Suspends All Naval Visits: US Embassy | Military News
The move comes a week after a US Coast Guard ship was blocked from refueling in the Solomons’ capital, Honiara.
The Solomon Islands has told the United States that it is suspending all navy vessels from entering its ports.
In a statement on Tuesday, the US Embassy in Australia’s capital, Canberra, said it had “received official notification from the Solomon Islands government of a moratorium on all naval visits, pending updates to procedures protocol”.
There was no immediate comment from the Solomon Islands government.
The move came a week after a US Coast Guard vessel was prevented from refueling in Honiara, the capital of the Solomon Islands.
USCGC Oliver Henry was patrolling for illegal fishing in the South Pacific for a regional fisheries agency when he failed to gain entry to refuel in Honiara, the US Coast Guard said. The ship was instead diverted to Papua New Guinea.
Britain’s Royal Navy has not commented directly on reports that HMS Spey, also taking part in Operation Island Chief, was also denied a stopover in the Solomon Islands.
“Ship programs are constantly under review, and it is common practice for them to change,” the Royal Navy said in a statement. “For operational security reasons, we do not discuss the details. The Royal Navy looks forward to visiting the Solomon Islands at a later date.
During Operation Island Chief, the United States, Australia, Great Britain and New Zealand provided support through aerial and surface surveillance for the Pacific island nations participating in the operation, including the Solomon Islands.
The Solomon Islands have had strained relations with Washington and its allies since the conclusion of a security pact with China in May.
The Solomon Islands and China have both denied that their pact will lead to a Chinese military foothold in the South Pacific, although a leaked draft agreement showed the security deal would allow the Chinese navy to dock and to reconstitute.