Ban Ki-moon who will become U.N. secretary-general in January is studying French lessons to be able to rule the delicate chief post.
Friday he had a French-only lunch with France President Jacques Chirac to polish his French. The South Korean Foreign Minister has made Chirac’s acquaintance in the past. The French-only lunch however was their first meeting since Ban won the election last month.

“I will cooperate closely with the French government at the U.N.,” Ban told reporters afterward, in French.
French and English are both the required working languages at the United Nations, and France insists that all U.N. chiefs speak the language of Moliere.
Some comment that the demand is applicable in the past but not today. French was the language of international politics a century ago, but today English replaces French as the world’s primary lingua franca, in all aspects of life whether in diplomacy, business, blogging or pop culture.
But in the halls of the United Nations, French signage is as important as English. On Friday, Chirac recalled “the place of Francophony in the system of the United Nations.”
After lunch Friday, carried out entirely in French, Chirac praised Ban for his command of the language.

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