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UN chief expresses opposition to calls in S. Korea for nuclear armament

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed opposition Thursday to growing calls in South Korea for nuclear armament, saying such a move runs counter to international norms, a South Korean lawmaker said.

Ban made the remarks during a meeting with South Korean National Assembly Speaker Chung Se-kyun and the floor leaders of the ruling Saenuri Party, the main opposition Minjoo Party of Korea and the People's Party -- Chung Jin-suk, Woo Sang-ho and Park Jie-won, respectively.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaks to journalists at a press conference on the occasion of the 71st session of the General Assembly at the UN headquarters in New York, Sept. 14, 2016. (Xinhua-Yonhap)
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaks to journalists at a press conference on the occasion of the 71st session of the General Assembly at the UN headquarters in New York, Sept. 14, 2016. (Xinhua-Yonhap)

Ban said he sees calls for nuclear armament in South Korea as "undesirable," saying the country, as the world's 13th-largest economy, should comply with international norms, according to the People's Party floor leader Park.

On North Korea, Ban said that sanctions on Pyongyang are necessary for negotiations, according to Park.

Ban also said that how fast China will agree on new UN.

Security Council sanctions on the North would be a barometer for the relations between the North and China, according to Park.

Ban, whose second five-year term as UN chief ends at the end of this year, also said that he plans to return home to South Korea in mid-January after leaving office, according to the participating lawmakers.

Saenuri Party floor leader Chung quoted Ban as saying that he needs some time off for rest, but has plans to pay visits to President Park Geun-hye and the National Assembly as soon as he returns.

Minjoo Party floor leader Woo also said that Ban told the meeting that he would be returning to South Korea before mid-January.

Ban's return is a key focus of attention because he's long been talked about as a potential candidate for next year's presidential election in his home country. Even though he has refused to discuss such a possibility, he has never ruled out the possibility, either.

Speculation about his presidential ambitions spiked earlier this year as Ban said during a visit to South Korea that he would "contemplate" what he would do as a South Korean citizen when he returns to his home country after stepping down as UN chief. (Yonhap)

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