UN Secretary General Kofi Annan is to discuss friction between Japan and its
neighbours and the North Korean nuclear crisis in talks with South Korean
Foreign Minister Ban Ki-Moon, officials said.
UN Secretary General
Kofi Annan is to discuss friction between Japan and its neighbours and the
North Korean nuclear crisis in talks with South Korean Foreign Minister
Ban Ki-Moon, officials said.[AFP/File]
Annan, on the first leg of a five-nation Asian tour that will also take him
to Japan, China, Thailand and Vietnam, is also expected to touch on other global
issues as well as efforts to reform the United Nations, they said.
"The agenda will include South Korea-UN cooperation, North Korea's nuclear
issues and other geopolitical issues on the Korean peninsula and in northeast
Asia, UN reform and South Korea's aid for developing countries," said foreign
ministry spokesman Ko Ki-Seok.
Rising prosperity in northeast Asia has been offset by tensions between Tokyo
and both Seoul and Beijing over Japan's wartime aggression, as well as
Ahead of his Asian tour, Annan called on Tokyo and its neighbors to improve
relations, according to Japan's Kyodo news agency.
Annan hailed celebrations in Moscow last year marking the 60th anniversary of
the end of World War II in Europe, which brought together leaders of Germany and
its former Allied foes, according to Kyodo.
The UN chief was quoted as saying he hoped "a day will come when I would
attend a similar event" in Asia. Chinese, Japanese and South Korean leaders
attended the Moscow ceremony but no event like it has ever taken place in Asia.
Annan, who steps down after his second five-year term on December 31, is also
seeking Asian support for reforms to the United Nations, whose 191 members are
divided over how to reshape the organization.
Expansion of the 15-nation UN Security Council was one of several key reforms
for which Annan had hoped to gain support.
China, the only Asian nation with veto power on the council, last year
blocked Japan's bid for a permanent seat, citing its historical dispute. South
Korea has also publicly opposed Japan's bid.
Annan, who arrived here Sunday, is scheduled to meet President Roh Moo-Hyun
on Tuesday for further talks on UN reform and the standoff over North Korea's
South Korean officials privately hope that Annan's visit could boost the
chances that Ban, one of several candidates to replace Annan as UN secretary
general, will become the next head of the world body.
Annan, a Ghanaian, has said that an Asian candidate could replace him
according to traditional regional rotation of the UN's top job. The late U Thant
of Myanmar was the only Asian to head the UN, from 1961-1971.
Prior to his meeting with Ban, Annan delivered a lecture to students at Seoul
National University and had lunch with the speaker of the National Assembly, Kim
On Tuesday, Annan will leave for Tokyo.
Japan, the second biggest financial contributor to the UN after the United
States, said it plans to discuss UN reform with Annan during his visit to the
China's foreign ministry said Annan would visit Beijing from May 19 to 23. He
would meet President Hu Jintao, Premier Wen Jiabao and State Councilor Tang
Jiaxuan to discuss issues of common concern, as well as China's cooperation with
the world body.