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International relations

Macron declares 'debt' to French Polynesia over nuclear testing

President stops short of apology on Pacific 'Tour de France' with eye on China

French President Emmanuel Macron speaks to the media at Papeete's harbor on July 27.   © SIPA via AP

HONG KONG -- As French President Emmanuel Macron touched down in Papeete, the capital of French Polynesia, last weekend for his first official trip to Tahiti, he was met with a traditional warm welcome of flower garlands and dancers.

Unsettled fallout from France's legacy of nuclear testing in the South Pacific, however, has overshadowed his "Tour de France" meant to shore up South Pacific ties with an eye on China. On Tuesday, Tahiti time, Macron concluded his visit with a speech declaring a "debt" to French Polynesia over the tests.

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