Doing Ban no service

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Doing Ban no service

The United Nations secretary general is a position that serves humankind, not any individual country, even the native land of the person holding the job. If such a person is entangled with political interests of a particular nation, it causes a serious problem, not to mention fueling suspicions over motivations behind his or her decisions.

Over the past eight years, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has paid keen attention to the need to be neutral. Nelson Messone, president of the Security Council for the month of June 2011, said that Ban maintained an amazing level of objectivity and neutrality when he submitted a resolution to grant Ban a second five-year term. If any doubts had been raised over his independence, he could hardly have clinched another term. Ban’s successful performance as the UN secretary general is essential for the entire world.

What’s happening in Korea with regards to Ban is not only imprudent but also worrisome. Kwon Roh-kap, a senior adviser to the opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy, recently said that a group of Ban’s “aides” approached the party to see if it has any intention to invite him to be the party’s candidate in the presidential election in 2017. If Ban really dispatched any of his aides on such a mission, it would make international news. In fact, he has never uttered such a far-fetched possibility thanks to his signature prudence and discretion. Through an official statement, he made it clear that he not only knew nothing about the approach by his “aides” but completely denied the story.

Kwon has not said who the aides were, how close they were to Ban, or whether they really delivered his intention or not. In a nutshell, he behaved utterly irresponsibly and frivolously.

A similar episode took place last month in a seminar hosted by the National Competitiveness Reinforcement Forum, an association of pro-Park Geun-hye legislators in the ruling Saenuri Party. Though many participants refrained from raising the issue of bringing in Ban for the race, it is totally insane to hold a seminar focused on the next presidential election with nearly three years left until the president’s terms expires.

Ban is a great tribute to our country and we don’t have to rule out the possibility of him running for president. But political discussions must not damage his so far successful role as UN boss. Moreover, recruiting him for political reasons without sufficient grounds clearly shows the frivolity of our politics. Our political circles must grow up. JoongAng Ilbo, Nov. 6, Page 34

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