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Asia leads world in greeting SKorean as new UN chief
Cat : International Conferences
Date : 2006-10-14 23:12:30                      Reader : 275

of WMD in Korean peninsula and the world. All WMD must be dismantled from the globe to ensure peace and security of the world.

Associated France Press 14/10/2006

Asia leads world in greeting SKorean as new UN chief

SEOUL (AFP) - Asian countries have led the world in greeting South Korea's Ban Ki-Moon as the region's first UN head in 35 years and pledged to support efforts to reform the body and seek global peace.

Ban, a career diplomat, will take over from Ghana's Kofi Annan to become the United Nations' eighth secretary general and the first Asian in the post since U Thant of Burma led the organisation from 1961 to 1971.

China congratulated 62-year-old Ban, who takes over the post in January, and pledged to actively work with the current South Korean foreign minister.

"It has been 35 years since an Asian has served as the UN secretary general," the foreign ministry said in a statement.

"This is the realization of the common aspirations of Asian nations and is a common honor for Asian nations."

Beijing would "work to actively support and coordinate" with Ban.

"We are sure that during the term of Ban Ki-Moon, the United Nations will continue to play a role in building a long-term peaceful, prosperous and harmonious world," the statement said.

Japan's Foreign Minister Taro Aso extended a "hearty welcome" to Ban.

"It is a great pleasure that the new secretary general is a person from South Korea, which has embodied Asia's remarkable development and growth," he said in a statement.

Aso, whose government has sought to join the UN permanent Security Council, added that Tokyo "will keep playing a leading role in the reform of the United Nations including the Security Council.

"We expect the new secretary general to exercise his initiative to renovate the UN into one suitable to the 21st century," Aso said.

Singapore said Ban "has a wealth of experience in diplomacy and is a strong and capable leader" and extended congratulations from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Foreign Minister George Yeo.

"His steady hand at the helm will stand the United Nations in good stead at a critical phase of its history," the foreign ministry said.

In Ban's home country, the South Korean president hailed the choice of its foreign minister as a source of national pride and expressed hope the veteran diplomat would help resolve the North Korean crisis.

"Minister Ban's nomination as the UN secretary general is a source of national pride and a very meaningful event that shows South Korea's elevated international status," said presidential spokesman Yoon Tae-Young.

"We take it as an international compliment for the Korean people who have risen from the ashes of war and poverty to achieve democracy and build the country into one of the world's largest economies."

Ban -- who was approved by the UN Security Council on Monday, the day North Korea declared it had tested a nuclear bomb -- has urged the council to adopt a "clear and strong" resolution on sanctions against the North.

He called for a two-pronged approach in dealing with Pyongyang, combining a "strong and united message" with "room for dialogue".

President Roh's spokesman said: "We hope Mr. Ban will make a great contribution in resolving the North Korean nuclear issue and achieving world peace and prosperity."

The previous day, after Ban was voted in, US President George W. Bush welcomed the appointment, with the White House saying that Ban assumes his role at a time of great challenge and opportunity at the United Nations.

"We will rely on his leadership to help steer the UN Organization through the reforms already underway, and to propel the organization even further on the path of reform," the White House stressed.

The Finnish presidency of the European Union praised "Ban's proven capabilities as well as his strong experience and knowledge."

It stressed that the EU "regards the reform as a key priority in enhancing the capacity and capability of the world organization to effectively carry on its enormously important work in the 21st century."

French President Jacques Chirac said: "I wish to express to you my full confidence in the exercise of the high mission which will be invested in you to achieve progress in peace, human rights and development, particularly in Africa."

Annan congratulated his successor, hailing him as "a man with a truly global mind" with "exceptional qualifications".

He repeated the greeting made more than 50 years ago by the first UN secretary general, Norway's Trygve Lie, to his Swedish successor, Dag Hammarskjold: "You are about to take over the most impossible job on Earth."

"While that may be true, I would add: this is also the best possible job on Earth," Annan said.

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