The Australian Defence Minister Marise Payne was in Nuku’alofa this morning.
Hon Payne has presented five Australian-gifted Unimog vehicles to His Majesty’s Armed Forces.
She was expected to discuss Australia’s ongoing commitment to support His Majesty’s Armed Forces to further enhance its capability to respond to natural disasters.
The Minister visited Nuku’alofa after the Royal Australian Navy ships HMAS Adelaide and HMAS Melbourne docked at Tonga’s Vuna wharf this morning.
The ships were there as part of Indo-Pacific Endeavour, an Australian Defence Force activity to promote security in the Pacific region.
During their visit, they will work with their Tongan counterparts in capacity-building exercises and training, and engage with the local community.
“I will also promote the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda while in Tonga by facilitating a WPS workshop with Australian Defence Force and His Majesty’s Armed Forces personnel as part of Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2018,” Minister Payne said.
On 14 June in Solomon Islands, the Minister will visit the Forum Fisheries Agency and the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force Maritime Headquarters.
The Minister will also lay a wreath at the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands Memorial and visit the Skyline Memorial to commemorate the Battle of Guadalcanal.
“Australia’s close security partnership with Solomon Islands continues to strengthen following the conclusion of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) last year and this visit is an opportunity to demonstrate our enduring commitment to our Pacific Partners,” Minister Payne said.
Minister Payne said Australia valued the enduring relationship with both countries and would continue to seek further opportunities to deepen these relationships.
Minister Payne will meet with senior leaders from both countries as part her visit.