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British High Commissioner Lucy Joyce presents credentials to His Majesty King Tupou VI

Today, 12 May, the British High Commissioner Lucy Joyce presented Letters of Recall for her predecessor and Letters of Credence for herself, to His Majesty King Tupou VI. This marks the official re-opening of the British High Commission in Nuku’alofa, capital of the Kingdom of Tonga.

The United Kingdom and the Kingdom of Tonga enjoy good bilateral relations, and share a long and positive history and similar systems of government, judiciary and education. There remain strong linkages, especially in the people-to-people sphere including sporting links. The new High Commission will expand these links to encompass key international issues, especially climate change as we look ahead to the 26th Conference of the Parties to the Rio Agreement (COP26), which will take place under UK Chairmanship in Glasgow in November. The UK is supporting the Kingdom of Tonga during the health pandemic including through our chairmanship of the G7, our seat on major multilateral organisations, and our strong support to the COVAX vaccine programme. The High Commission will also work with the Government of the Kingdom of Tonga to uphold the international rules-based system.

This is the 12th and final post to open as part of the Global Network Uplift in the British diplomatic network overseas. Opening new diplomatic offices in Commonwealth countries demonstrates the government’s vision for a Global Britain. The UK continues to be a successful global foreign policy player: open, inclusive, outward facing and free trading. This has been reinforced by the recent Integrated Review, and the Indo-Pacific Tilt.

The Commonwealth is bound together by shared values of democracy, rule of law and respect for human rights. By increasing our diplomatic network in the Commonwealth, the UK is able to work with other states on mutual interests such as climate change, biodiversity, open societies and the international rules-based system British High Commissioner Lucy Joyce said: ‘I am delighted and honoured to have presented credentials today to His Majesty King Tupou VI, and to be officially reopening the British High Commission in Nuku’alofa, Tonga. The UK and the Kingdom of Tonga have strong historical links, not least between our respective Royal Families, and I look forward to engaging across a wide range of bilateral and international issues’.

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