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U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon?

Posted February. 15, 2006 04:43,   


Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Ban Ki-moon could become the next secretary-general of the United Nations.

Vice Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan held a news conference on the morning of February 14 at the Foreign Ministry building and announced, “The government has decided to nominate Minister Ban as the successor to Secretary-General Kofi Annan, whose term concludes at the end of this year.”

Ban told the afternoon weekly briefing, “I humbly accept the government’s recommendation that I run as a candidate and ask our people and the international community for support.”

Former Foreign Minister Han Seung-soo had served as president of the U.N. General Assembly from 2001 to 2002, but this is the first time that a Korean national is running for the post of secretary-general of the U.N. Beginning a five-year term from January 1 of 2007, the succeeding secretary-general will be elected in the later half of this year.

Presently, about 10 candidates are being mentioned for the post, including Thai Deputy Prime Minister Surakiart Sathirathai and former U.N. Under Secretary General Jayantha Dhanapala from Sri Lanka who have both already declared their candidacies.

After choosing Minister Ban as a candidate for the job through consultations with related ministries last October, the government has been working on it behind the scenes and recently notified the 189 U.N. member nations of its decision before the official announcement.

Under the U.N. Charter, the secretary-general is the chief administrative officer of the Secretariat, and as such, is an international civil servant who does not come under the influence of, nor seeks or takes any directions from, any government or international organization. The post receives the honors of head of government, one level lower than chief of state.

To be elected as secretary-general of the U.N., the post requires endorsement from more than nine of the 15 member nations of the U.N. Security Council, and no vetoes from the five permanent member states of the United States, the United Kingdom, France, China, and Russia.

Jong-Koo Yoon jkmas@donga.com