The US coastguard ship could not enter the port in the Solomon Islands because the authorities of the island nation in the Pacific did not respond to the request for refueling, the Reuters agency reported. Solomon Islands recently signed a security agreement with China.
USCGC Oliver Henry was patrolling the South Pacific in an effort to counter illegal fishing on behalf of the Regional Fisheries Agency. He was not allowed to enter the port of Honiara, the capital of the Solomon Islands, where he was to refuel as planned – reported the press service of the US coast guard.
The Solomon Islands government did not respond to a request for comment.
The relationship between Solomon Islands and the United States and its allies has been strained ever since in May the government in Honiara signed a security agreement with the communist authorities in Beijing. Commentators expressed concerns that this could allow China to increase its military influence off key Pacific sea routes.
An American ship that could not refuel in the Solomon Islands stayed instead directed to Papua New Guinea – the US Coast Guard reported.
Reuters recalls the reports circulating on social media that refueling in the Solomon Islands was also denied to the British ship HMS Speywho is also involved in Operation Island Chief. It aims to combat illegal fishing in the EEZ of Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. The British Navy declined to comment on the matter.
Authorities in Honiara and Beijing say that The agreement signed in May does not serve to build a Chinese military base in the Solomon Islandsbut according to the draft of this document, which was leaked to the media, Chinese navy ships would be able to dock at the port and replenish supplies.