Ban formally approved as next leader of the UN
▶ Ban Ki-moon at the United Nations Friday in New York. [NEWSIS]NEW YORK ― After being formally appointed as the next United Nations secretary general, South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon supported later moves by the UN Security Council to sanction North Korea over its declared nuclear test, saying the body should pass a “clear and strong resolution.”
“It is absolutely necessary that the international community should again send out a very strong, unified and clear message so that North Korea will not have any temptation to engage in any further negative activities,” Mr. Ban told a press conference Friday, after winning the UN General Assembly’s approval, by acclamation, to head the world body beginning Jan. 1.
Mr. Ban, however, stressed that international diplomacy should be continued at the same time, saying the global community should combine a “strong and united message” with “room for dialogue.” There have been several rounds of international talks on the North’s nuclear program, but no major breakthroughs. The North has boycotted the negotiations for almost one year, citing U.S.-imposed sanctions for its alleged counterfeiting and other financial crimes.
Later on Friday, Mr. Ban also said he intends to appoint a special envoy on North Korea to draw more UN attention to the nation. Dealing with North Korea’s nuclear threat is expected to become one of Mr. Ban’s top tasks. He has led Seoul’s diplomatic efforts to persuade the North to give up its nuclear weapons program since becoming South Korea’s foreign minister in 2004.
A four-year international standoff over the North’s nuclear activities took greater urgency Monday after Pyongyang said it carried out its first-known nuclear test, triggering worldwide condemnation. On Saturday, the Security Council adopted a resolution launching non-military sanctions on North Korea.
In speeches and media interviews prior to his appointment last Friday, Mr. Ban said he would make use of his experiences in dealing with North Korea to settle the standoff, adding he has a special sense of responsibility as a Korean.
“As I have gained a much deeper understanding and experience in the inter-Korean relationship, including North Korea, I think I will be in a much better position to handle this issue as secretary general,” Mr. Ban said in an interview with the Financial Times earlier this month. Mr. Ban also said he intends to visit North Korea to engage its reclusive regime, something that current UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has never done.