Solomon Islands bans U.S. naval ships

SYDNEY, Australia (AFP) — The Solomon Islands has suspended all visits from the United States Navy, the US embassy in Canberra said Tuesday, heightening concerns over the growing influence of China in the region.

“The United States received formal notification from the Government of Solomon Islands regarding a moratorium on all naval visits, pending updates in protocol procedures,” an embassy spokesperson said in a statement.

It comes a week after Washington said a coast guard ship was denied permission to refuel in the Solomons capital of Honiara.

“The United States is disappointed that the US Coast Guard ship was not able to make this planned stop in Honiara,” the statement said.

“We will continue to closely monitor the situation.”

The US Navy hospital ship Mercy had been allowed to dock Monday as part of a humanitarian mission to the country — but the embassy noted it had received clearance before the moratorium was put in place.

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