Tonga–United States relations
The United States and Tonga enjoy close cooperation on a range of international issues. Officers of the American Embassy in Suva, Fiji, are concurrently accredited to Tonga and make periodic visits since the United States has no permanent consular or diplomatic offices in Tonga. A US consulate in Tonga is due to be established in 2009. Peace Corps Volunteers teach and provide technical assistance to Tongans. Tonga has no embassy in Washington, DC, but has a permanent representative to the United Nations in New York, Fekitamoeloa 'Utoikamanu, who also is accredited as ambassador to the United States. Tonga also has a consulate-general in San Francisco. A large number of Tongans reside in the United States, particularly in Utah, California, and Hawaii.
On July 4, 2007, US Ambassador Larry Dinger noted the "close bilateral military relationship" between the two countries. Tonga is a member of the "Coalition of the Willing", and the Tonga Defence Services have deployed troops in Iraq.
The United States has urged Tonga to embrace a "suitably democratic future", but has stated that "Tonga’s issues are for Tonga to resolve". Hence the United States has put little or no pressure on Tonga, its military ally, to become a democracy.
Trade between the U.S. and Tonga is relatively low, but it has seen a steady increase in recent years. In 2001 U.S. exports to Tonga totaled US$4.8 million, and by 2005 they had increased to $10.78 million. In 2005, the U.S. imports from Tonga totaled $6.45 million.
Principal U.S. Embassy Officials include:
- "US to open consulate in Tonga", ABC Radio Australia, May 16, 2008
- "US consular office for Tonga" Archived 2011-07-17 at the Wayback Machine., Fiji Broadcasting Corporation, February 9, 2009
- US Department of State
- "July 4th Message from U.S. Ambassador to Tonga Larry M. Dinger", official website of the United States' virtual embassy to Tonga, July 4, 2007