January 12, 2017 11:22
Former UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon returns to Korea on Thursday afternoon as a team working for his presidential ambitions begins to take shape.
Ban will make a short statement on arrival before heading home to Sadang-dong in southern Seoul. On Friday, he pays a visit to the National Cemetery. On Saturday, he will travel to his home town of Eumseong, North Chungcheong Province and visit his mother's home in Chungju, where he will also meet locals.
Ban's election camp swung into operation on Wednesday, with former ambassador to the UN Kim Sook in a key role. Some members of the team have ties to former president Lee Myung-bak and President Park Geun-hye, suggesting Ban has not yet abandoned the conservative ship.
One member of the election camp said, "We're going to visit various parts of the country and listen to the voices of the public. We expect the detailed lineup after the Lunar New Year's holiday."
Lee Do-woon, Ban's spokesman, held the camp's first media briefing at an office in Mapo on Wednesday. The purpose was to explain Ban's itinerary, but reporters were more interested in the composition of his election camp. But Lee was cagey, naming besides Kim Sook only Korea University professor Kwak Seung-jun and former lawmaker Lee Sang-il.
Kim is thought to have played d a pivotal role in Ban's rise to the top UN job and was ambassador to the world body from 2011 to 2013. Once that was over, he shuttled back and forth between Seoul and New York to prepare for Ban's next political move.
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