US State Sec John Kerry celebrates Tonga's independence day in a message

U.S. Secretary John Kerry has sent a message to Tongans ahead of June 4 the day Tonga ceased to be a British protectorate in 1970 and became fully independent within the British Commonwealth.

In a statement Kerry said: “On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I offer our warmest congratulations to the people of the Kingdom of Tonga on the 45th anniversary of Tonga’s independence on June 4th” Kerry said in a statement released by the White House.

“The advent of your Independence Day makes us mindful of Tonga’s proud culture and heritage.

“The people of the United States deeply appreciate the friendship of the people of Tonga and the contributions that “Tongan-Americans have made to our own cultural tapestry.

“As you celebrate the Kingdom’s independence this year, know that the United States stands with you in the spirit of our shared values and continuing cooperation. In coming years, we hope to further expand our cooperation in mitigating the effects of climate change, enhancing maritime security, improving economic opportunity, and many other areas of mutual interest.

Congratulations and warm wishes for peace and prosperity throughout the year to come”.

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