5. First ROITalk of 2020

ROI Office – NUKU’ALOFA – Tonga

As strategic and economic competition heats up in the region, the Kingdom of Tonga is becoming increasingly important to old and new partners. The United Kingdom is reopening its High Commission in Nuku’alofa. The United States chose Tonga to be the first Pacific Islands country to partner with the U.S. National Guards. France has not only joined the Pacific Island Forum, it is ramping up naval engagement and port visits, including in Tonga. Japan has reinvigorated its Pacific policies. India has declared that growing relations in the Pacific beyond Fiji is a priority. For Tonga to take full advantage of this renewed interest, it helps to know what is motivating its potential partners. This talk looks at Tonga’s changing strategic and economic environment. It draws on a year-long Chatham House project researching strategic shifts in the wider Indo-Pacific.

Cleo Paskal

An Associate Fellow in the Asia-Pacific Programme and the Energy, Environment and Resources department at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House, London, Cleo Paskal works with academia, government, national security professionals, the defence community and others to better understand, explain, anticipate and resolve today’s complex challenges. She is Research Lead on Chatham House’s ‘Perceptions of Strategic Shifts in the Indo-Pacific to 2024’ project.