Solomon Islands foreign navy ban applies to 'all countries'
Since signing a security agreement with China this year, the Solomon Islands has had a strained relationship with the United States and its allies.
A ban on foreign military vessels docking in the Solomon Islands applies to "all countries in the world," a Pacific nation Prime Minister spokesperson told AFP Wednesday.
The ban was revealed by Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare on Tuesday after news broke out that a United States Coast Guard ship was not allowed to refuel at the country's port.
The Prime Minister's spokesperson told AFP that that moratorium "includes all countries in the world." "No preference to any specific country," he said.
He added that there is "no specific timeframe" for the review of a naval approval process, which was not announced on Tuesday.
Fearing the Solomon Islands' growing closeness with #hina, the US and its allies will be closely watching the moratorium in the region. The two countries signed a security pact in April.
The naval ban comes just a week after Sogavare's office threatened to ban or deport Western journalists for "disrespectful and demeaning" coverage, saying that some international media were attempting to "architect regime change."
Australian Defense Minister Richard Marles would not be drawn on the moratorium during media interviews Wednesday, saying only that it was "a matter for the Solomon Islands."
The Solomon Islands had to delay entry of a US Coast Guard ship earlier this month due to the late submission of information needed to approve the access of the vessel into the country, according to Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare on Tuesday, cited by the Government Communication Unit (GCU).
The Oliver Henry ship was denied entry into the Guadalcanal due to a delay in submitting the required documents, which led the ship to depart the island's waters before approval was granted on the evening of August 20, according to Sogavare.
The GCU said in a statement that the Islands requested partner countries to put a hold on naval visits to the country until a national mechanism is revised for entry requests.
"To this end, we have requested our partners to give us time to review and put in place our new processes before sending further requests for military vessels to enter the country. Once the new mechanism is in place, we will inform you all. We anticipate the new process to be smoother and timelier," Sogavare said.