Top Asian News 3:00 a.m. GMT

In riot-hit New Caledonia, French President Macron says priority is return to calm amid unrest

President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday met with local officials in riot-hit New Caledonia, having crossed the globe by plane in a high-profile show of support for the French Pacific archipelago gripped by deadly unrest and where Indigenous people have long sought independence from France. Macron, who briefly spoke to reporters after his arrival at La Tontouta International Airport, about 50 kilometers (31 miles) from the New Caledonian capital of Noumea, said he viewed a return to calm as the top priority. He said his wish, along with that of his ministers and government, was "to be alongside the people and see a return to peace, calm and security as soon as possible.” Macron added that he would discuss the resources needed to repair the damage wrought by days of shootings, arson and other violence that has left at least six dead and destruction estimated to be in the hundreds of millions of euros (dollars).