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[Editorial] A Korean U.N. Chief?

Posted February. 15, 2006 04:43,   


As of February 14, Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Ban Ki-moon has become the first Korean to officially declare his intention to run for the U.N. secretary-general position. This is a historical challenge to open a new horizon for Korean diplomacy as well as a high-time opportunity to become a major player in leading global peace, coexistence, and co-prosperity. Taking this occasion as an overall test of our diplomatic and national power, the government and public alike must come together to give unsparing support.

Ban’s candidacy presents special recollection and pride to the people who finally achieved the “Miracle of the Han River” after founding the nation with U.N. support and preserving liberal democracy. In that regard, the fact that Korea, which used to be one of U.N.’s recipient countries, now has a secretary-general candidate who should play the mediator in the international community and lead in addressing issues such as hunger, terror, and disasters poignantly shows the significance of the United Nations.

Numerous obstacles lie ahead before Ban is elected. To achieve success, no permanent member of the U.N. Security Council –the U.S., the U.K., France, China, and Russia – must exercise its veto. Concerns are warranted given Korea is a divided nation, but it must rather take advantage of the experience and potential of managing the division state stably for over half a century and fulfilling democratization and industrialization. It is true that Korea’s development strategy and interest and contribution to world peace serve as a good example.

Minister Ban said, “I will play a positive role in bringing the North Korean nuclear issue into peaceful and early resolution if I become secretary-general.” This is true. If he is elected, Pyongyang will feel more certain about nuclear dismantlement, reform, and liberalization. In addition, our way of thinking and behavior, sometimes caught within narrow-sighted nationalism while also the world’s 11th highest GDP and 12th largest trade volume, will change greatly. Above all, the young generation will gain strong motivation and confidence as member of the world.

Every citizen must help Minister Ban with his election and thus his contribution to the peace and stability on the Korean peninsula and Northeast Asia and realizing U.N.’s goal of “peace/security, development, and human rights/democracy.” Opportunity does not come along often.