Ban supporters call for a halt to mudslinging

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Ban supporters call for a halt to mudslinging

Ahead of its official launch, a special interest group supporting UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has asked similar groups linked with other potential presidential candidates to agree not to maliciously attack or slander each other.

The group, named Banditburi, or firefly in Korean (a play on the UN chief’s surname), is scheduled to hold its inaugural meeting on Nov. 10.

Banditburi has reached out to groups that support liberals Moon Jae-in, the former chairman of the main opposition Minjoo Party, and Ahn Cheol-soo, former chairman of the People’s Party, to agree to avoid any mudslinging ahead of next year’s presidential elections.

Kim Sung-hee, chairman of the preparatory committee to launch the group for Ban, told the JoongAng Ilbo over phone on Wednesday, “We asked other groups supporting key potential presidential contenders, including the opposition’s Moon Jae-in and Ahn Cheol-soo, as well as the ruling party’s Kim Moo-sung [former chairman of the Saenuri Party], to forge a gentlemen’s agreement.”

He continued, “The political scene is messy as is, so we proposed that at least groups like ours should not engage in slander or malicious comments online, or muckraking of any kind.”

Kim added that on the day of his group’s inaugural meeting on Nov. 10, he will also invite representatives of other groups and discuss ways to improve political culture and hold a ceremony to seal such an agreement.

“Banditburi will lead in creating a new political culture from the bottom up,” he said.

Ban’s second term as UN chief expires at the end of December and he said he plans to return to Korea in January, after which his political intentions are expected to become clearer.

Kim, who serves as secretary general of the Center for Multicultural Korea (CMCK), returned to Korea on Tuesday from a trip to New York, taking his organization’s Rainbow Chorus, a multicultural children’s choir, to perform at UN headquarters.

BY PARK YU-MI [kim.sarah@joongang.co.kr]

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