2 October, 2005

South Korea to Vye for UN Secretary General

Bankimoon South Korea is likely to become the next Secretary General of the United Nations:

Ban, a 61-year-old career diplomat, has himself been tipped as the likely contender in South Korean media — a step he would not rule out if his government put him up for the job.

"If and when the opportunity is given to me or anybody else, then I think Korea can serve the effectiveness and advancement of the United Nations," Ban told Reuters in an interview when asked about the news reports.

If Minister Ban decides to run for the office he is going to face some stiff competition from two other prominent Asian diplomats:

Two Asian contenders have already declared their bids — Thai Deputy Prime Minister Surakiart Sathirathai and Sri Lankan peace negotiator Jayantha Dhanapala.

A South Korean candidacy could make it more difficult for Asian states to unite around a single contender, although Ban said consensus was important.

"There are already two very good candidates but, you know, when I was in New York last month I heard from many, many member countries that Asia needs to have a very good, credible candidate," Ban said.

Out of all the of the Korean President Roh Moo-hyun’s ministers, Ban Ki-moon is probably the most well liked within Korea and internationally.  A big plus for Minister Ban is that he is also well liked by the American government since he is a graduate of Harvard and has worked closely with United States diplomats during the six party talks with North Korea.  However, he is probably not liked enough for the United States to back him as the UN Secretary General.  Korea-US relations are probably at an all time low currently due to the current North Korean nuclear crisis and anti-Americanism effecting the US-ROK alliance.  Also don’t expect Russia and China to back a candidate from a country with a military alliance with the United States.  That leaves three of the permanent security council members against the nomination from the start.  Britain and France as well are not a sure thing to back a South Korean candidate.  Finally, if the UN is looking for a Secretary General that can clean up it’s history of corruption, South Korea is probably not the right place to turn to.

by @ 12:59 pm. Filed under South Korea

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