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(Yonhap Interview) U.N. tacitly agrees to reappoint Ban for second term: official

All Headlines 16:37 March 03, 2011

By Lee Haye-ah

SEOUL, March 3 (Yonhap) -- The prevailing view within the United Nations is to keep its chief Ban Ki-moon at the helm for another term, Seoul's ambassador to the U.N. said Thursday.

The South Korean-born secretary-general's first term is set to expire at the end of this year, but with Ban's "outstanding" leadership, he is almost certain to stay for another five-year period, Amb. Park In-kook said in an interview with Yonhap News Agency.

"The secretary-general is displaying outstanding leadership in key global issues and his clear expression of the U.N.'s position on the recent pro-democracy movements in the Middle East and Africa is being highly evaluated," Park said.

The U.N. Security Council on Saturday unanimously adopted a resolution freezing the foreign assets of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi and his family members for brutally suppressing anti-government protesters in the country. The sanctions also included an arms embargo and a travel ban on the leader and some of his close aides.

"Although it is still unofficial, the general consensus (within the U.N.) is that there is no room for doubt regarding his (Ban's) reappointment."

As examples of the secretary-general's leadership during his four years on the job so far, the ambassador cited Ban's role in quickly securing supplies and other aid for disaster-struck areas in Haiti and Pakistan as well as his efforts to promote human rights.

Ban, a former South Korean foreign minister, was once rumored to be a possible contender for the country's 2012 presidential elections, but he later came out to flatly deny such intentions.

Speaking of South Korean-U.S. joint efforts to refer North Korea's uranium issue to the U.N. Security Council, the envoy urged China to take part in clearly defining the illicit nature of Pyongyang's uranium enrichment program (UEP).

"I am expecting China to play a responsible role, especially as the current president of the council," Park said.

As one of five veto-holding permanent members of the council, China's backing is crucial in getting the Security Council to discuss North Korea's UEP as a violation of previous U.N. resolutions banning the communist regime from such activity. China, however, has been reluctant to put additional pressure on North Korea, apparently fearing the negative consequences it could have on Pyongyang's unstable regime and China's own political and economic interests.

Park, the envoy, also urged South Korea to step up its contributions to the U.N. in terms of both content and financial aid. The country currently ranks 11th in general donations and 10th in funding for the U.N.'s peacekeeping operations, but it should now aim to draw up and claim ownership of resolutions dealing with global issues, he said.

"South Korea should make more voluntary contributions and play a leading role in agenda-setting. This is what the international society wants and this is what we should do," Park said, choosing green growth as a key area in which the country could play a leading role.

hague@yna.co.kr
(END)

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