US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman will travel to Samoa, Tonga, Solomon Islands, Australia and New Zealand from August 3-9. The Deputy Secretary’s trip to the region reflects the United States’ commitment to meaningfully engage with other Pacific nations in a spirit of partnership and friendship.
In Apia, Samoa, Deputy Secretary Sherman will be the first US high-ranking official and one of the first foreign officials to visit the country following the reopening of Samoa’s international borders on August 1. She will meet Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata’afa.
In Nuku’alofa, Tonga, Deputy Secretary Sherman will meet King Tupou VI and other senior government officials in Tonga to commemorate 50 years of bilateral relations between the United States and Tonga. The deputy secretary, the highest-ranking US official who has visited Tonga in the history of our relations, will discuss bilateral cooperation, including the US interest in starting talks to establish a US embassy in Tonga, said Vice President Kamala Harris at the Pacific Islands Forum in July, as well as ongoing efforts to recover from the volcanic eruption and tsunami in January, to which the United States contributed more than $ 2.6 million. He will also deliver speeches at a meeting with Tongan students and youth, meet members of Tongan civil society, and visit US Peace Corps personnel. The Peace Corps has been operating in Tonga for 55 years and will return volunteers to the field in 2023.
In Honor, Solomon Islands, Deputy Secretary Sherman will lead an interagency US delegation to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Guadalcanal. He will deliver speeches at a US ceremony on Skyline Ridge, the site of the US Guadalcanal Monument, and at a Solomon Islands ceremony at Bloody Ridge. The US deputy secretary and delegation will additionally attend ceremonies commemorating the victims and lives of those who fought at the Battle of Guadalcanal from the United States and their allies, the Solomon Islands, and the people of Japan. The deputy secretary will also meet representatives of the Solomon Islands government, including Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, to highlight the enduring relationship between the United States and Solomon Islands and the recent announcement of plans to open a US Embassy in Honor.
Assistant Secretary Sherman will then visit Canberra, Australia, where he will meet Foreign Minister Penny Wong, Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Trade Jan Adams and other senior Australian officials to discuss US-Australian cooperation for a secure and prosperous region, bilateral trade, partnership and our work to combat the climate crisis. The deputy secretary will also meet young Australians to discuss the importance of further strengthening the US-Australia alliance.
In Wellington, New Zealand, Deputy Secretary Sherman will meet Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, CEO of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Trade Chris Seed, and other government officials. The deputy secretary will discuss the strong bilateral partnership between the United States and New Zealand and ongoing cooperation on regional and global challenges.