RAROTONGA, Cook Islands
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was greeted as celebrity-royalty by Cook Islanders during an unprecedented visit at the end of last week to attend a regional meeting of Pacific island nations here.
The 43rd Pacific Islands Forum was held in Rarotonga, Cook Islands, from 28 to 30 August 2012 involved leaders from the 16 member Pacific nations including Australia and New Zealand. This year's theme: “Large Ocean Island States – the Pacific Challenge” with major topics including climate change, trade and fishing.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton along with more than 500 officials from nearly 60 countries including China, and European Union attended as observers and participated in other meetings in the Cook Islands, some 3000 km northeast of New Zealand.
The world’s largest marine park is due to be launched in the Cook Islands located in the Pacific Ocean about 3,000 km from New Zealand. Covering an area of almost a million square kilometres, the park will be three times the size of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and twice as large as the Chagos Archipelago in the Indian Ocean that topped the list of marine protected areas (MPAs) for two years.