18 November, 2011. The Prime Minister, Lord Tu'ivakano together with leaders from Papua New Guinea, Palau, Federated States of Micronesia, Cook Island and Niue held talks with US President Barack Obama in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Pacific leaders were in Hawaii at a special meeting, running parallel to APEC, to discuss the challenges facing Pacific island countries.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton addressed Pacific leaders where she confirmed to United States renewed commitment to Pacific island countries. Leaders also met Admiral Patrick Walsh, Commander of the Pacific Fleet and senior US military officers.
During the special meeting, Pacific leaders discussed seabed mining, the threat of non-communicable disease, conflict resolution, climate change, the role of China in the region, energy, fishing as well as a special addresses by the President of Vietnam, H.E. Truong Tan Sang.
On the last day of the meeting Pacific leaders met captions of US industry in a CEO summit and held a special meeting with President Obama where he reiterated US commitment to Pacific island countries noting he was the first Polynesian and Pacific US President, having been born in Hawaii where his parent were studying at the East West Center.
The Pacific leaders meeting concluded with roundtable talks with Secretary Clinton and senior US government officials where issues of concerns in the Pacific island countries - US relations were discussed.
While in Honolulu the Prime Minister took the opportunity to hold a meeting with the Tongan community. A spokesperson represented the issues of concern to the Tongan community to which the Prime Minister responded and discussed the Government of Tonga's initiatives and policies.
Tongan Member of Parliament and Co-Director of the East West Center's Pacific Development Programme, Dr. Sitiveni Halapua, also addressed the meeting presenting his views on political reform, the work of the Legislative Assembly and the Special Parliamentary Committee of which he is part of.
The Prime Minister left Honolulu for Samoa where he will meet Samoan counterpart before returning to Tonga.
Issued by: Prime Minister's Office, Government of the Kingdom of Tonga, P.O. Box 62, Nuku'alofa.