After controversial China pact: Solomon Islands suspend naval visits

A few days ago, the Solomon Islands refused to allow a US Coast Guard ship to visit the port.

After controversial China pact: Solomon Islands suspend naval visits

A few days ago, the Solomon Islands refused to allow a US Coast Guard ship to visit the port. The Pacific island state has now announced that it will temporarily suspend the entry of all foreign military ships. A spokesman for the US Security Council suspects that the decision was influenced by China.

About three months after concluding a controversial security agreement with China, the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific are revising their rules for accepting foreign naval vessels. After US and UK ships encountered problems with their port visits, Prime Minister Manesseh Sogavare said the entry of foreign military ships into their sovereign waters would be suspended altogether pending the introduction of a new process for permitting port visits. One wants to expand the national capacities for monitoring the exclusive economic zones of the South Pacific island state.

A US Coast Guard ship was unable to call at a port in the Solomon Islands last week because the government failed to respond to a routine request for refueling and supplies. The British naval ship Spey also had to cancel a planned port stay. The Solomon Islands have had a strained relationship with the United States and its allies since forging a security pact with China earlier this year.

On Monday, a spokesman for the US State Department described the lack of clearance for the military ship as "regrettable". White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby criticized China's attempts to intimidate and coerce nations across the Indo-Pacific to act on their terms.

China has been courting the Pacific Islands for a long time. Foreign Minister Wang Yi visited Pacific island groups for ten days in May. China's actions are viewed critically by the USA, but also by Australia, Japan and New Zealand as a sign of the People's Republic's growing influence in the region. Among other things, they fear that China could gain a stronger military foothold in the Pacific. The Solomon Islands, with almost a million inhabitants, are around 7,000 kilometers from China.

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