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Robin Ord-Smith apppointed UK High Commissioner to Tonga

Radio & TV Tonga, Nuku’alofa, 30/05/2019

The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office have announced that Robin Ord-Smith MVO has been appointed High Commissioner to the Tonga, as they reopen their resident High Commission office in Nuku’alofa, after over a decade since they closed their office here.

The reopening of the UK High Commissioners office in Nuku’alofa was announced last year by the then British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London last April where he also announced the opening of eight other new diplomatic posts. Johnson said security was one of the reasons why Britain will open three new diplomatic posts in the Pacific Islands – here in Tonga, and in Samoa and Vanuatu.

Tonga’s history with Britain goes back to Captain James Cooks visits to Tonga in the 1770’s, followed by extensive English missionary activity. On May 18th 1900 Tonga signed a Treaty of Friendship with Britain and became a British protected state. The treaty and the protected state status ended in 1970 but the two nations continued cooperative relations. In 2006 the British Government closed the British High Commission in Nuku’alofa, transferring representation of British interests in Tonga to the UK High Commissioner in Fiji.

With the reopening of the UK High Commissioners office in Nuku’alofa, Robin Ord-Smith becomes the 9th resident British High Commissioner to Tonga. Prior to this he was Ambassador of the United Kingdom to Kyrgyzstan since 2015. It has not been confirmed the exact date he will take up the post here in Tonga but it is expected to be within the next few months.

© Radio and Television Tonga News