Ban Ki-moon Hints at Presidential Ambitions

      May 26, 2016 11:35

      UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon waves on arrival on Jeju Island on Wednesday. /Yonhap

      UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday inched a little closer to admitting his ambitions for the presidency.

      "When I return on Jan. 1 next year, I'll be a Korean, whereas until now I've held a UN passport," Ban told reporters on Jeju Island, where he is attending a forum. "I'll contemplate and decide then what I should do as a Korean citizen."

      Ban has been mooted as a contender for the presidency for a while but has so far been coy about the prospect.

      He urged reporters to refrain from speculation. "They say I've met the president seven times, but that was all in public places," he said.

      But he was keen to quell claims that he is too old, pointing out that the U.S. Democratic Party candidates are both pushing 70.

      "I've never taken a day off sick," he claimed. "There are no problems with my physical condition."

      Ban said he "never thought about becoming president. For now I have to complete my job at the UN," he said. "But I'm really proud of being cited as a potential presidential candidate."

      He added that too much speculation about his potential presidential bid has placed him in a somewhat "awkward" position in the international community.

      But he also pointed to his record in trying to engage Pyongyang. "I think I may be the only one to have maintained a dialogue channel between two Koreas," he said. "If there is an opportunity, I will continue to make efforts."

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