The Pacific Exposition, which will take place at Skycity in Auckland from July 11 to 14, is expected to bring together the foreign ministers of Indonesia, New Zealand and Australia, as well as senior government officials from across Polynesia and Melanesia. A bilateral agreement is to be signed with the Cook Islands at the same time, Radio New Zealand International reports.
The event is the latest foray in a determined diplomatic outreach in the Pacific region that Indonesia's government of President Joko Widodo has overseen in the past few years.
Jakarta has not concealed its aim of greater connectivity with a region that has been critical of Indonesian administration of restive Papua. The Auckland expo is the strongest sign yet of Indonesia's intent.
Pitched as a trade, investment and tourism forum, it will involve dozens of government and private sector representatives from several Pacific Island countries, with most of their expenses paid for by the Indonesian government.
"The exposition is also the first step towards connecting goods and people of the Pacific and Southeast Asia," reads a flier for the event.
The full report by Radio New Zealand International journalists appears at this address: https://bit.ly/2XaAqtD