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U.N. chief may visit S. Korea next month: source

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is considering visiting South Korea next month to attend a non-governmental organization conference nearly one year after his last visit here, a government source said Thursday.

South Korea hosts U.N. Department of Public Information and Non-Governmental Organizations Conference in Gyeongju, 371 kilometers south of Seoul, from May 30 to June 1. 

The 66th conference will bring in U.N. officials, diplomats, policy experts and politicians to discuss education and sustainable development issues, according to the U.N.

"Ban is positively considering participation in the upcoming conference," a Seoul government source said on the condition of anonymity. "Although there is a high possibility of his visit here, it is hard to confirm it now as the U.N. has yet to make an official announcement (about the plan)."

If Ban visits his home country, it could draw keen attention from local media as the former South Korean foreign minister has been considered one of the potential candidates for the next presidential election.

Though he has repeatedly denied interest in domestic politics, Ban has been listed as one of the preferred candidates in the conservative camp thanks to his clean and global image. 

Ban's second five-year term at the U.N. is set to come to a close at the end of 2016, a year before the election to replace incumbent President Park Geun-hye. Her single five-year term ends in early 2018, and she cannot seek re-election by law. 

(Yonhap)

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