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U.N. chief says he’ll think about his role for S. Korea’s future

NEW YORK (Yonhap) -- U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Friday he will think about what he can do for the future of South Korea after stepping down as U.N. chief, as speculation is high he’s considering a run for president.

“I understand that there are naturally some expectations from many people in Korea that I should make myself available for a better future of Korea that I am conscious of,” Ban was quoted as saying in an interview with Reuters.

After returning to Korea in mid-January, Ban also said that he will “have to discuss with some of my friends, my senior people who can give me good advice, what kind of role I can play for the future of Korea.”

Ban said that his “options are still open” and he will “ponder seriously what will be the best way for me to use my time, my experience as secretary-general.” For now, however, he said he will focus on his job as U.N. chief. 

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 it out, 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 U.N. chief.

During the interview with Reuters, Ban also expressed concern about tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

“Never in the past have we seen such heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula, that is a source of my great concern and worry,”

he was quoted as saying.

He also criticized the U.N. Security Council for “taking unnecessarily long time in expressing their positions” on North Korean provocations.

“That kind of sense of lack of unity gives some good excuse for the member states like North Korea not to abide by this resolution,” he said.

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