US Coast Guard Ship Denied Refueling As China Tensions Rise

A United States Coast Guard ship was unable to do a routine refueling at a port in the Soloman Islands.

The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Oliver Henry was scheduled for a port call in Guadalcanal last week. The ship that is stationed in Guam had its final request for clearance ignored by the island nation’s government.

“The Government of the Solomon Islands did not respond to the U.S. Government’s request for diplomatic clearance for the vessel to refuel and provision in Honiara,” said Lieutenant Kristin Kam, a spokeswoman for the 4th Coast Guard District in Honolulu, told Stars and Stripes. “Accordingly, CGC Oliver Henry diverted to Papua New Guinea to refuel and provision.”

“The U.S. Department of State is in contact with the Government of the Solomon Islands and expects all future clearances will be provided to U.S. ships,” Kam continued.

The American ship had been patrolling the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea Exclusive Economic Zones and the Coral sea at the time of the request.

According to Fox News, “a British vessel was also denied entry but the British Royal Navy has not commented directly on those reports.”

The Soloman Islands entered into a security pact with China four months earlier. The announcement made in April immediately ignited concerns that China would have increased influence in the region as tension continues to mount between the communist nation and the West.

Political leaders from New Zealand and Australia both expressed concern over the pact. That the new alliance would increase military presence in the region and lack of transparency.

The critics of the pact were denounced by Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare of the Solomon Islands. The Prime Minister called the international reaction to the pact “very insulting” during a parliamentary address.

“There is no intention to ask China to build a military base in Solomon Islands. We are insulted by such unfounded stories,” he said. “We are not pressured in any way by our new friends.”

The Prime Minister noted that the agreement involved protecting infrastructure built by China.

“Some countries and their publics may not take too kindly to a certain country protecting infrastructure built by another country,” said Sogavare. “But such an attitude makes us uncomfortable. We watched Chinatown burned to ashes and attempted vandalism of the Pacific Games infrastructure. … from our perspective any infrastructure built must be protected.”

According to ABC News a leaked version of the pact claimed that “Chinese forces came to Solomon Islands to ‘protect the safety of Chinese personnel and major projects’ as well as ‘preserve social order.”

The Soloman Islands ended its diplomatic relationship with Taiwan, whose president condemned the decision, in 2019.


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