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Former PM says diplomats not suitable for domestic politics

All News 09:49 June 06, 2016

SEOUL, June 6 (Yonhap) -- A former South Korean prime minister who served late President Roh Moo-hyun said Monday that diplomats are not usually suitable for domestic politics, targeting the possible presidential bid by the incumbent United Nations secretary-general.

"The talents of diplomats are not suitable for local politics. Although diplomacy is also important, they don't fit to the politics where tensions are high," former South Korean Prime Minister Lee Hae-chan said. "I have seen many diplomats, but none of them ran for presidency."

The latest remark came as during his visit to Seoul last month, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he would "contemplate" what he would do as a South Korean citizen when he returns to his home country after completing his two terms at the end of this year.

He did not directly deny speculation that he will run for president.

Ban served as foreign minister during the liberal Roh administration at the same time Lee was prime minister. But local opposition parties as well as liberal politicians has been slandering Ban amid the rising outlook that the U.N. head will probably seek the ruling Saenuri Party's ticket.

According to the survey conducted by Realmeter on 2,018 South Koreans last week, Ban held an approval rate of 25.3 percent, outpacing other potential candidates from the opposition, who till now had been leading in the polls. Moon Jae-in, former leader of the Minjoo Party of Korea, held 22.2 percent in the same survey, up 0.7 percentage point from a week earlier.

colin@yna.co.kr
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