West making much ado about nothing untoward

The great lengths some Western politicians and media outlets are going to in their efforts to hype up the Solomon Islands' suspending port visits by all foreign military vessels is more revealing of their own countries' designs for the island than anything else.

The Solomon Islands on Monday requested all countries give it time to review and put in place a new approval process before sending further requests for port visits by naval vessels.

That would not have raised an eyebrow were it not for a US Coast Guard ship diverting to Papua New Guinea after Honiara failed to respond timely to its request to dock and refuel on Friday.

Solomon Islands' Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has clarified that there had been a delay in processing the ship's request and it had already left Solomon waters when approval was communicated, as the delay was primarily due to the appropriate information not being sent to his office on time.

And Sogavare, who stressed "We anticipate the new process to be smoother and timelier", welcomed a US Navy hospital ship that docked in Honiara on Tuesday evening for a two-week stay, although USNS Mercy had received clearance prior to the moratorium on visits being implemented with immediate effect.

The Solomon Islands has stressed, the new procedures will apply to all countries, the Solomon Islands having "No preference to any specific country".

Yet putting two and two together to make five, some in the West are trying to politicize the move, which has come as a result of the country suddenly becoming a popular destination for naval vessels. That in turn is a consequence of Western countries' new-found interest in the country after it struck a deal with Beijing, allowing it to request police and military assistance from China to maintain social order.

Some countries are trying to blur the whole picture, because they don't want to miss the chance to smear the normal cooperation between the Pacific island country and China, and hype up conjectures about China being a threat.

The Solomon Islands, like any country, has the right to make its own decisions, policies and judgments. As long as they do not harbor the intention to make the Solomon Islands subservient to their endeavors to contain China there is no reason why Western countries should kick up a fuss about their naval vessels not being able to make calls to the island for the time being. No other countries are.

Before the Western countries accept that all countries are equal, they will continue to behave like colonial powers and treat developing countries in a disrespectful and demeaning way.