Months after the Solomon Islands struck a security pact with China, its leader Manasseh Sogavre has repeatedly appeared to snub the US, heightening Washington's concern but not deterring it from trying to keep the Pacific nation out of Beijing's orbit. USSC CEO Dr Michael Green tells Reuters the halt to navy visits is a "net loss" for the United States, which had access before the deal with China, but it does not mean "the game is over".

"We also don't know whether Prime Minister Sogavare is paralysed with indecision given the tough geopolitics - or in the pocket of Beijing - or both. Either way, the US and Australia have to keep at engagement and prove we are trusted partners."