The Solomon Islands has temporarily suspended all US Navy voyages to the Pacific nation. The US embassy in Canberra, Australia, said the government in Washington was given a related ban by Salomon officials. So this decision is applicable until the “Ethical Procedures” are updated.
A few days ago, the Solomon Islands denied a US Coast Guard vessel routine port calls. Relations between the U.S. and the island nation have been strained since it agreed a defense deal with China in April. New Zealand, Australia and the United States have warned Prime Minister Manasseh Sokhavarev against the move – due to concerns over Beijing’s growing influence and the People’s Republic of China’s potential military presence in the region where the US overseas territory of Guam is located.
Point win for Beijing
A defense deal of its kind is the first in the South Pacific and a points win for China, which is gradually consolidating its strategic position. Two weeks ago, Beijing approved a US$66 million loan from Chinese company Huawei to expand Salomon’s mobile network. The Solomon Islands government spoke of a “financial partnership” of “historic significance”.
As of 2019, the Solomon Islands is one of the few countries in the world to maintain diplomatic relations with Taiwan. Then they officially broke with it and turned to the People’s Republic, which insists on its so-called one-China policy: states that want to maintain official ties with China are not allowed to formally recognize the government in Taipei. Beijing views Taiwan as a breakaway province that will be reunited with the mainland — using military force if necessary.
jj/ehl (dpa, afp)
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