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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Statement by the President on the Passing of King George Tupou V of Tonga

With the passing yesterday of King George Tupou V of Tonga, the United States has lost a friend and the people of Tonga have lost a visionary leader. Upon ascending to the throne, King George championed a process of peaceful democratization that led to the first majority elected Parliament of Tonga taking office in 2010.  As I said when I met with the King at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy graduation last spring, Tonga is one of the United States’ closest partners among the Pacific Island states and we are grateful for its role in Afghanistan, where Tonga makes an active contribution to the international coalition.  On behalf of all Americans, I extend my deepest condolences to the Queen Mother Halaevalu Mata’aho, the Royal Family, and the people of Tonga on the passing of King George Tupou V.