New Caledonia's President, Philippe Gomes, has asked the Chair of the Pacific Islands Forum, Australia's Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, to support New Caledonia's bid for full Forum membership.
Mr Gomes took the initiative in Australia where is visiting with the most senior delegation of New Caledonian leaders to travel to the region.
He is seeking a status upgrade after New Caledonia had become an associate Forum member in 2005 as part of a drive by the then French leadership to promote the integration of the French Pacific territories into the region.
Australia and New Caledonia have also agreed to hold annual meetings, in a further sign of closer ties.
The New Caledonian delegation, which had been invited by the Australian foreign minister, also includes the French high commissioner to Noumea.