U.S Deputy Secretary of State, Wendy Sherman will be in Tonga today, as part of the Pacific trip to reflect the United States’ commitment to the region.
Her visit started with Samoa then Tonga, Solomon Islands, Australia and New Zealand from 3-9 August.
In Nuku’alofa, she will meet King Tupou VI and other senior Tongan government officials to commemorate 50-years of bilateral relations between the United States and Tonga.
The Office of the Spokesperson, U.S Department of State said Deputy Secretary Sherman is the most senior U.S official to visit Tonga in the history of our two countries’ relationship.
“The Deputy Secretary’s travel to the region reflects the United States’ commitment to engage meaningfully with fellow Pacific nations in the spirit of partnership and friendship.”
She will discuss bilateral cooperation, including the United States’ interest in beginning discussions to establish a U.S embassy in Tonga, as announced by Vice President Kamala Harris at the Pacific Islands Forum in July.
Discussions will also include the ongoing recovery efforts from the volcano eruption and tsunami in January, in which the United States has provided over $2.6 million in assistance.
The Deputy Secretary will also deliver remarks at an event with local students and young people, meet with members of Tonga’s civil society, and visit U.S Peace Corps staff.
The Peace Corps has been active in Tonga for 55-years and will return volunteers to the field in 2023.
The Deputy Secretary is also expected to sign an Energy Grant of US$100,000 with Prime Minister Sovaleni.
The Prime Minister will then host the reception marking the 50th Anniversary of Diplomatic Relations.
On 6 August, Deputy Secretary Sherman will sign a grant with Women in ICT at the Fa’onelua Convention Centre and attend a USAID NEMO Programme.
She will then depart Tonga for the Solomon Islands, leading the U.S delegation to participate in the commemoration of the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Guadalcanal.
SOURCE: TONGA WIRES/PACNEWS