French President Emmanuel Macron

Pato meets President of France

Minister Pato was the special envoy of Prime Minister Peter O’Neill at a meeting of Pacific leaders with the President in Noumea.

President Macron led the discussion on a wide range of regional and global issues, including climate change and biodiversity.

Minister Pato told the French leader that the Pacific welcomed his statement in Sydney last week affirming the commitment of France to a rules-based international order.

Macron on track for French parliament landslide

As polls closed, projections showed La Republique en Marche (Republic on the Move) set to win more than 400 seats in the 577-seat National Assembly.

Mr Macron's party was established just over a year ago and many candidates have little or no political experience.

The second round of the vote is held next Sunday.

Forecasts by two polling organisations gave LREM well over 30 percent of first round votes.

But turnout was low, about 49 percent, which analysts said reflected a sense of resignation among Mr Macron's opponents.

Macron explains Trump handshake

"My handshake with him, it's not innocent," Macron told the Journal du Dimanche in an interview published Sunday. "It's not the alpha and the omega of politics, but a moment of truth."

The two newly-minted leaders met in Brussels on Thursday and shook hands in full view of the press.

Pool reporter Phillip Rucker of the Washington Post, who was in the room, described it: