[EDITORIALS]Ban’s hat in the ringForeign Minister Ban Ki-moon announced yesterday that he would run as a candidate for secretary general of the United Nations. Of course, his candidacy is in his personal capacity, not in the capacity of the foreign minister. But the government said that when selection procedures are revealed, it plans to officially report Mr. Ban as Korea’s candidate.
Through his long years of experience as a diplomat, Mr. Ban has developed the qualities that are required in carrying out the job of the UN secretary general. Also, the fact that Korea stands in the ranks of the ten largest economies in the world shows that we have reached a point where we too are worthy of taking responsibility for the United Nations. There are also high possibilities that this year, the candidate will be selected from Asia, according to the custom of selecting candidates from regional pools.
Korea was saved from conquest with the assistance of the United Nations. If Korea is able to produce the head of the UN secretariat after achieving democratization and industrialization, it will be a glory for both Mr. Ban as an individual and for Korea. Therefore, we hope that Mr. Ban achieves his goal.
But UN secretary general is a position that is decided after several procedures: nine out of 15 countries including the five countries that are permanent members of the United Nations Security Council must support the candidate, who is then ratified by the General Assembly. If any one permanent member opposes the nomination, the candidate is immediately disqualified. Therefore it is difficult to guess who will be elected up until the very last moment.
In particular, Korea has complicated interest relationships with major countries, including the permanent members of the Security Council. Therefore, the circumstances are not necessarily favorable to us, at least to some extent. We are especially worried whether Mr. Ban’s decision to file his candidacy while holding his ministerial position will be favorable or not to our diplomatic goals and national interests. Some observers say that it is not desirable for the Korean government to give the impression that it is in full swing to support Mr. Ban.
Korea is a country with many diplomatic issues, and people could question whether the foreign minister’s mind would be preoccupied with the race rather than his job. In order to hush those controversies, Mr. Ban should step down from his minister’s post and run for UN secretary general as an individual.