US opens embassy in Tonga in new pushback against China in Pacific

  • The United States has opened a new embassy in Tonga, the State Department said on 9 May, part of efforts to step up the U.S. diplomatic presence in the Pacific region to counter China.
  • State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said the embassy would allow Washington to deploy additional diplomatic personnel and resources, including the potential appointment of a resident ambassador to Tonga, with which the United States has had diplomatic relations since 1972.
  • Washington reopened its embassy in the Solomon Islands in 2023 after a 30-year absence, and is continuing to engage with Vanuatu and Kiribati about opening proposed new embassies in those countries.
  • The embassy announcement came after the White House said on 9 May that President Joe Biden will become the first U.S. sitting president to visit Papua New Guinea in May 23 following the G7 summit in Japan, underscoring his administration’s investment in the Pacific region to counter China.

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