UNITED NATIONS - South Korea's Foreign Minister Ban Ki-Moon said on Tuesday
he bore "a heavy sense of responsibility" after an informal ballot that
virtually assured he would become the next United Nations secretary-general.
Ban, 62, will probably be named formally on October 9 in an official
vote by the 15-nation U.N. Security Council after winning four straw polls,
including a crucial one on Monday.
South Korea's Foreign
Minister Ban Ki-Moon smiles as he meets reporters in his office in Seoul
October 3, 2006. [Reuters]
After the council's recommendation, the 192-member U.N. General Assembly is
expected to endorse Ban as the eighth secretary-general of the United Nations
since 1946 to replace Kofi Annan of Ghana, who ends 10 years in office on
"It is quite clear from today's vote that Minister Ban Ki Moon is the
candidate the Security Council will recommend" to the General Assembly, China's
U.N. ambassador, Wang Guangya, told reporters.
In Monday's Security Council straw poll, Ban got 14 positive votes, including
from all the council's five members with veto rights-- the United States,
Britain, China, France and Russia. One of the 10 nonpermanent members abstained.
Although the vote was secret, the five permanent members had blue colored
ballots while the other 10 had white ones.
Ban is known as a seasoned diplomat, who so far issued general statements in
his public comments about the new job, which will involve political divisions
between developing and developed countries and a reorganization of the
Ban was appointed foreign minister in January 2004.
"He is the hardest-working person at the ministry," said one South Korean
diplomat. "If you don't count his personal aide who has to be at his residence
at 5:30 in the morning."
The diplomats say he is very popular within his ministry which also handles
the trade affairs of South Korea, a country that has depended heavily on exports
to lift it from the ruins of war in the early 1950s to rank as Asia's third
South Korea's campaign was expensive, with reports of pledges of aid, and
extensive traveling to criss-cross the globe. In New York, Ban, with fluent but
accented English, spoke at numerous forums but did not debate any of his rivals.
Shashi Tharoor of India, 50, who placed second in all four polls, withdrew
from the race and told reporters that he had written to Ban to congratulate him.
"It is clear that he will be our next secretary-general," Tharoor said.