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French press review 13 June 2018


The Trump-Kim summit in Singapore dominates the front pages of all the leading French dailies.

Le Monde leads with the story on the front page under the headline ‘A Historic Summit.’

The daily points out that the agreement between the two leaders remains unclear. It states that for Kim, the summit was not only an international success but also a triumph on the domestic front.

He can now boast back in his country of having brought the president of the United States to sit down with him at the negotiating table after conducting missile and nuclear tests in 2017.

Le Monde notes that Kim has not yet committed to any specific timetable even though he promised Trump to destroy a missile test site.

The daily also focuses on the China angle.

It states that though China wasn’t invited to the summit, it was an Air China Boeing 747 that transported Kim from Pyongyang to Singapore.

The article points out that Kim had visited Beijing at the end of March, a month before the summit between leaders of South Korea and North Korea leaders in Panmunjom.

Moreover, Xi Jinping was the first foreign leader Kim met since succeeding his father in 2011.

Le Figaro carries an editorial under the headline, ‘The devil is in the words’

It states that the ‘agreement’ between the two leaders looks like a statement of intent in which the symbols outweigh the content.

It stresses that as is the case in such statements, everything is in the words.

Among the words present in the text is “towards.”

It’s about going “towards” denuclearisation without any timetable or certainty.

The editorial highlights the missing words like “complete, verifiable and irreversible.”

It observes that Trump gave Kim a lot, with few concrete concessions in return adding that the long list of broken promises by North Korea in the past calls for caution.

The second story dominating the French press is about the Aquarius ship which was stranded in the Mediterranean with 629 migrants and which Italy refused to take in.

Concern over Aquarius

Liberation leads with the headline ‘Europe drifting.’

It states that the three days of silence from the French president’s office and the refusal to welcome the ship has been openly criticised by some parliamentarians of the ruling party in France.

Sonia Krimi, a parliamentarian from La Republique en Marche tweeted that “even as Spain helped to take in the ship, France remained silent. Leaving adrift the principle of unconditional acceptance of migrants. What are we waiting for?”

Her colleague Anne-Christine Lang, had also echoed her concern by tweeting that “in the face of the urgency and the absolute distress, France would have honored itself by making an exception and welcome the passengers of the Aquarius”.

The paper also notes that according to one of the ministers, President Emmanuel Macron said that his "first reflex" would have been to order the reception of Aquarius.

The reason he refrained from doing so was because he is looking for a "durable solution". The daily also quotes member of European Parliament Jacques Maire as saying that, "he does not want to get into a game of ping pong with the Italian government."