Solomon Islands halts naval visits after US, UK ships denied entry

5 months 1 day ago #164635 by geemong
Solomon Islands halts naval visits after US, UK ships denied entry

The Solomon Islands has temporarily halted all naval visits after failing to grant access to US and UK ships earlier this month.

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Honiara said the vessels had not sought access in time, and this prompted a review of arrival procedure.

But the move marks a departure from routine and has raised concerns about China's influence.

Honiara signed a security pact with Beijing in April, sparking alarm among US allies and other Pacific islands.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare issued a statement clarifying "misinformation" in media reports on the US and UK boats.

He said both ships - the US Coast Guard Cutter (USGC) Oliver Henry and the HMS Spey - had failed to be granted approvals in time because of a delay in paperwork.

"The delay in these approvals demonstrate the need for the government to review and refine its approval requirements and procedures for visiting military vessels to Solomon Island," Mr Sogavare said.

"The government has asked all partner countries with plans to conduct naval visits or patrols to put them on hold until a revised national mechanism is in place."

He said this "universally" applied to all visiting foreign naval vessels.

US embassies told the BBC they had received notice of the Solomon's policy update on Monday.

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