UN Chief Confirms Presidential Hopes as Early Elections Loom

  • By Kim Deok-han

    December 22, 2016 11:50

    UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday yielded to pressure from the looming impeachment of President Park Geun-hye by getting more explicit about his own presidential ambitions.

    "If what I have learned, seen and felt during my 10-year service as UN secretary-general could help advance Korea, I am willing to fully devote myself to it," Ban told Korean reporters in New York.

    UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon talks to reporters at a news conference at UN headquarters on Tuesday. /Yonhap

    Ban was Korean foreign minister under a progressive government before he took the UN job but had been expected to run on a conservative ticket before the current turmoil threw the question up in the air again. He has been coy about his bid, but the possibility of early elections makes it more urgent to drop broad hints.

    His five-year term at the UN ends in little over a week. Ban boasted that he met with 300 to 400 world leaders during his 10 years as the head of the UN and discovered the attributes of successful and unsuccessful leaders.

    He added he feels it is "urgent" for him to work for the development of his home country. "I have been thinking about how and where I will dedicate myself," he said. "Though my capacity is limited, I will not spare myself if my know-how is needed to develop the country and improve citizens' welfare and livelihoods."

    Asked whether he would join the ruling Saenuri Party, Ban said, "You can't do politics all by yourself. There should be some sort of means and a vision." But he added the political situation in Korea is unpredictable and that it is difficult to make comments.

    Asked if he is willing to meet with Park, who faces impeachment over a massive corruption scandal, when he returns to Seoul, he said he plans to meet acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn once he returns to Korea.

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