Minister for Defence Marise Payne will visit the Kingdom of Tonga and the Solomon Islands this week as Australia looks to increase its engagement with its Pacific partners.
As part of her visit, Minister Payne will meet with senior leaders from both countries.
Minister Payne will participate in a number of activities as part of Indo-Pacific Endeavour’s (IPE) port visit to Nuku’alofa, including the handover of five Australian-gifted Unimog vehicles, which the minister said reflects Australia’s ongoing commitment to support His Majesty’s Armed Forces to further enhance its capability to respond to natural disasters.
“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 June 14 in the Solomon Islands, the minister will visit the Forum Fisheries Agency and the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force Maritime Headquarters. She 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.