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What the weeklies said 17 June 2018

rfi English, Jun 17

The world waits for gains from the Trump/Kim summit in Singapore; and the Aquarius exposes hypocrisy of European immigration policy.

“Glory in Singapore”; “peace of the braves”; “a fools' summit”, and “image of the Century”. These are some of the captions the magazines are running, to describe the historic June 12 meeting in Singapore between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

The New Observer L'Obs says the historical handshake was long and cordial like in diplomatic encounters, but it points out this specific “mano à mano” carried the promise of ending tensions in the Korean Peninsula, the Pyongyang strongman offering to abandon his nuclear program and the threat it posed to US allies in the region in exchange for the lifting of US sanctions.

The left-leaning weekly claims that while handshake was met with a “loud applause” in South Korea, Japanese, Russian and Chinese authorities remained tight-lipped, as if to express their interest in maintaining the status quo, inherited from the Cold War.

According to L'Express, all that Donald Trump wanted from the Singapore summit was a photo opportunity to prove that after abortive dialogue attempts by Bill Clinton and George Bush, he is the first US President since the 1953 Panmunjom Armistice, to meet face-to-face with America's sworn enemy. But in the publication's view, even if the meeting between the sworn enemies ended in a deal, there was no diplomatic line or vision to back up Trump's approach.

Le Canard Enchaîné for its part expresses surprise that anyone would take the over-played making of history by such unpredictable characters seriously after watching them trade insults and threats for months.

More so as the satirical weekly holds that in matters of U-turns and signature scrapping, Donald Trump demonstrated at the G-7 summit in Canada that he fully deserved the title of the most erratic leader on the Planet, when the ex-reality show star withdrew his support for the final communiqué, on containing a trade and diplomatic war, that he signed with his six partners just an hour before, with a tweet. Le Canard says he no longer uses gloves when dealing with his European allies.

The world reached a new tipping point at the Malbaie G-7 Summit. That's the view upheld by Le Point. The magazine claims that Donald Trump's demolition of structures of the international system has changed the dynamics of power play on the global stage.

The right-wing magazine argues that while the G-7 nations tore themselves apart, India, Russia, Iran, Pakistan and other Asian countries met in Beijing at the invitation of China. Le Point concludes that it is up to the EU to take advantage of the new geopolitical landscape.

This week's Marianne reports from the Aquarius, the humanitarian ship with more than 600 migrants rescued off the coast of Libya which was left drifting in Mediterranean for more than a week after being turned away by several countries, until finally being taken in by Spain.

The left-leaning publication says that while the "hospital ship" struggled in high waves and winds, French President Emmanuel Macron spent his time quarrelling with Italy's new Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, betraying in the weekly's words, promises France made to relieve the pressure piled on the transalpine neighbour by the massive arrival of migrants at its coastline.

According to Marianne the saga of the Aquarius reflects current European policy which is based on border security and not on that of people in distress. The publication points to irony of sorts, the fact that the boat controversy comes just days to the June 28 meeting of the European Council during which EU member states are expected to cut a deal on asylum rights.

The Le Canard Enchaîné pokes fun at a so-called "fake" invoice presented by the Elysée Palace, to justify a decision to replace the priced crockery and cutlery used at state receptions and banquets for years..

The shocking case of lavish spending, was leaked to the press, the same week that President Emmanuel Macron expressed irritation about the crazy amount of dough spent on social security.

The satirical weekly says the 1200 sets of plates ordered by First Lady Brigitte Macron allegedly costing 50,000 euros and paid for by the Ministry of Culture are actually worth 400 to 500 euros a piece. Le Canard says that amounts to no less than half a million euros.


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