With a flurry of preparations for the visitors for the South Pacific Forum, the Cook Islanders have managed to obtain some fine vehicles to get the delegates around, but it looks like the meet will be overloaded with representatives from the powerful nations rather than the Islanders themselves.
Every forum needs a motorcade, even on tiny Rarotonga
Hillary Clinton to attend
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been confirmed to attend the Pacific Islands Forum in the Cook Islands this week.
Speculation about her attendance has swirled for weeks, ahead of confirmation by her spokeswoman Victoria Nuland on Wednesday morning. Mrs Clinton will attend the post-forum dialogue on August 31, "as part of our intensive engagement and ongoing collaboration with the Pacific Islands", Ms Nuland said. "Her visit will emphasise the depth and breadth of American engagement across economic, people to people, strategic, environmental, and security interests.
"The visit also represents a concerted effort to strengthen regional multilateral institutions, develop bilateral partnerships, and build on alliances - three core elements of US strategy toward the Asia-Pacific."
Mrs Clinton will lead the highest-level US delegation in the forum's history, accompanied by senior officials from the Departments of State, Defence, and Interior. Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and New Zealand's Prime Minister John Key both fly to Rarotonga for the forum on Wednesday. Both leaders are expected to have bilateral talks with Mrs Clinton.
Mrs Clinton's attendance at the forum comes as part of a wider trip to Indonesia, China, East Timor, Brunei, and Russia.