Solomon Islands to ban US navy ships from ports: US embassy

SYDNEY: The Solomon Islands authorities has instructed the United States it’ll place a moratorium on navy vessels getting into its ports, the US embassy in Canberra mentioned on Tuesday.
The discover follows an incident final Tuesday when a U.S. Coast Guard vessel, the Oliver Henry, was unable to enter Solomon Islands for a routine port name as a result of the federal government didn’t reply to a request for it to refuel and provision.
The Solomon Islands has had a tense relationship with the US and its allies since placing a safety pact with China earlier this yr.
“On Aug. 29, the US acquired formal notification from the Authorities of Solomon Islands relating to a moratorium on all naval visits, pending updates in protocol procedures,” the embassy mentioned in a press release.
A spokesman for Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare earlier denied the stories of a moratorium, and instructed Reuters that Sogavare would make a speech on Tuesday afternoon.
Sogavare would make a speech to welcome a U.S. navy hospital ship, Mercy, which arrived in Honiara on Monday for a two week mission, he mentioned.
The embassy mentioned Mercy had arrived earlier than the moratorium.
“The U.S. Navy ship Mercy acquired diplomatic clearance previous to the moratorium being carried out. We are going to proceed to intently monitor the scenario,” the embassy mentioned.
Final week, the U.S. Coast Guard vessel Oliver Henry was on patrol for unlawful fishing within the South Pacific for a regional fisheries company when it did not receive entry to refuel at Honiara, the Solomons’ capital.
A U.S. State Division spokesperson on Monday mentioned the “lack of diplomatic clearance for the Oliver Henry was regrettable”, and the US was happy the Mercy had acquired clearance.
The Mercy’s humanitarian mission, along with personnel from Australia and Japan, will embrace group well being outreach, engineering initiatives, and discussions on catastrophe aid.
Individually, White Home Nationwide Safety Council spokesman John Kirby mentioned it was regrettable that “we have seen the Chinese language attempt to bully and coerce nations all through the Indo-Pacific to do their bidding and to serve what they consider their egocentric nationwide safety pursuits are, fairly than the broader pursuits of a free and open Indo-Pacific”.

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