The citizens of the Kingdom of Tonga today celebrated the anniversary of their Constitution Day.
Tonga also became known as the Friendly Islands because of the friendly reception accorded to Captain James Cook on his first visit in 1773. The country also is the only island nation in the region to have avoided formal colonisation, according to Wikipedia.
US Department Spokesperson, Victoria Nuland, speaking in Washington, DC, extended the congratulations of President Obama and the people of the United States, to the people of the Kingdom of Tonga.
Ms. Nuland stressed that the partnership between the two countries is broad and deep. She cited that both countries are working together on everything from combating climate change to improving maritime security and fostering cooperation and development in the region. She said the United States is grateful for the commitment of the Royal Tongan Marines currently deployed in Helmand Province in Afghanistan. She applauded the Tongan government for promoting democracy through political reforms and preserving the balance of power enshrined in your constitution.
“As you celebrate this special day, know that the United States joins you in the spirit of our shared values and continuing cooperation. Congratulations and best wishes for a year of peace and prosperity.” -Ms. Nuland
Tonga’s economy is characterized by a large non-monetary sector and a heavy dependence on remittances from the half of the country’s population which lives abroad mainly from Australia, New Zealand, and the United States.