The Solomon Islands will no longer allow US Navy vessels access to its ports pending “updates to protocol procedures”, according to the US Embassy in Australia.
The policy change comes after a U.S. Coast Guard vessel, the Olivier Henrycarrying out an anti-illegal fishing patrol was denied a stopover in the Solomon Islands on 23 August. with the United States have worsened.
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Bloomberg reported on Tuesday that the US government had been advised of a “moratorium on all naval visits, pending updates to protocol procedures”, according to a spokesperson for the US Embassy in Australia, who added officials will “monitor the situation”.
A spokesperson for the US Embassy in Australia confirmed the report to Washington Examiner but could not provide additional information.
Sogavare is expected to issue a statement on the moratorium on Tuesday, according to Bloomberg.
White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said he was “disappointed by this decision”
by the Solomons not to allow the Olivier Henry dock and refuel, calling it a “routine” procedure.
A State Department spokesperson said Monday that “the lack of diplomatic clearance for the Olivier Henry was unfortunate.”
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The Solomon Islands occupy a strategic position in the Pacific and Western officials have expressed concern that the islands’ pact with China will strengthen its influence in the region. The islands’ prime minister said the new deal would not allow China to establish a naval base and promised it would not jeopardize peace and security in the islands.
The Washington Examiner contacted the State Department for comment.