NATIONAL

U.N. to reelect Ban Ki-moon as chief this week

By 신혜인
  • Published : Jun 19, 2011 - 19:04
  • Updated : Jun 20, 2011 - 11:33
South Korea hailed the reelection of Ban Ki-moon as the U.N. Secretary-General over the weekend, as the Security Council cleared the South Korean diplomat of his last barricade in heading the international body for another five years.

Following the council’s approval, the 192-member General Assembly will hold a definitive vote this week. The 67-year-old diplomat is certain to win a second term as there are no other candidates.

South Korean Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan will meet with Ban to congratulate him on reelection while attending the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday, the Seoul ministry said in a statement.

Seoul will “actively support Secretary-General Ban for continued successful activities” in his second term and Kim will “hold a congratulatory reception with foreign diplomats in the U.N.,” it said. 

The Security Council “recommends to the General Assembly that Mr. Ban Ki-moon be appointed secretary-general of the United Nations for a second term of office from Jan. 1, 2012, to Dec. 31, 2016,” said Ambassador Nelson Messone of Gabon, which holds the panel’s rotating presidency.

Ban, who formerly served as Seoul’s foreign minister, had secured early support from the five veto-wielding Security Council members ― the U.S., China, Russia, France and Britain ― comfortably winning approval for another term. 
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon (AP-Yonhap News)

While on a trip around Latin America, the South Korean diplomat said he was deeply honored by the council’s recommendation, adding he was “aware of the formidable challenges ahead” in his second term.

“In the 21st century, the United Nations matters in a different and deeper way,” he said. “I am motivated and prepared to continue our work together with the member states, upholding the principles enshrined in the (U.N.) charter.”

An unnamed U.N. official had said some Latin American and Caribbean envoys had wanted to hold off on endorsing Ban until his current trip to the region is over, regretting that there was only one candidate.

But there is “no outright opposition” to Ban’s candidacy, the official added.

Even North Korea had expressed its support for Ban’s bid for a second term last week, though unofficially, with its ambassador to the U.N. Sin Son-ho saying his country “actively supports” Ban’s reelection during a breakfast meeting with his Asian counterparts.

Ban has expressed his willingness to visit Pyongyang, should he be endorsed for another term, to help solve the ongoing stalemate in the six-nation talks aimed at denuclearizing North Korea and deepening food shortages there.

Having studied international relations at Seoul National University, Ban served as Seoul’s foreign minister from 2004-2006.

Although he was often criticized as “lacking charisma” due to his ambiguous positioning on controversial issues, Ban has been generally well received for prioritizing issues such as climate change and nuclear disarmament.

By Shin Hae-in (hayney@heraldcorp.com)