Solomon Islands authorities have extended a ban on docking in its international waters to all foreign vessels, saying they must review procedures for applying to enter the archipelago after an incident with a US Coast Guard vessel.
“We have asked our partners to give us time to review and launch our new processes, before sending more applications for military ships to enter the country,” Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare said in a statement.
In this sense, the Solomon Islands authorities have explained that, after having “unfortunate experiences” with “foreign warships entering the country’s waters without diplomatic authorization”, they must develop their ability to monitor their Exclusive Economic Zone.
“The Government has communicated its position to all countries that request to send warships to Solomon Islands waters,” he explained, adding that “the new process” that they will launch will be “more fluid and timely.”
This comes after the Solomon Islands temporarily suspended all US naval visits on Tuesday following an incident with the US Coast Guard vessel ‘Oliver Henry’, which requested authorization to make a stopover on the island of Guadalcanal. , the main of the archipelago.
However, the US Embassy in Canberra, Australia, reported that the request made by the vessel, which was in charge of patrolling as part of an international mission to prevent illegal fishing, was denied by the Solomon Islands authorities.
Thus, the ship finally left for Papua New Guinea to make this stop, according to the spokesman for the National Security Council, John Kirby, who also alluded to a possible Chinese influence with respect to this conflict.
For this reason, the Government of the Solomon Islands has justified the closure of its international waters to foreign ships with the aim of “reviewing and perfecting its requirements and approval procedures on military ships.”
It should be remembered that the Prime Minister of Solomon, Manasseh Sogavare, signed an agreement with Beijing on April 19 for both parties to collaborate on issues such as the maintenance of public order, the protection and safety of people and priorities, humanitarian assistance and response to natural disasters.
This agreement was viewed with suspicion from the outset by Australia and the United States, who warned that the pact opened the door to a hypothetical deployment of Chinese troops in the archipelago. However, Solomon Islands authorities have ruled out the construction of military bases.
Source: Europa Press