Monday, April 17, 2006

UN Secretary General

An article in Korea Focus discusses Korean Ban Ki-Moon's candidacy to be the next UN Secretary General. I don't really know what his chances are of being the next UNSG. The short article brings up the relevant point that:
Some [Koreans] may expect that a Korean secretary general would be to South Korea??s advantage in managing complicated international affairs. They apparently believe that a Korean U.N. chief could help his home country by providing the government with vital information instrumental to the favorable management of foreign affairs.
He argues against this kind of nationalistic shortsightednesss noting that "...if the intention to promote a Korean candidate for the top U.N. position is in expectation of his assistance for South Korea??s diplomacy, it is hardly acceptable." This is a credible concern and relevant topic odiscussionon in view of the growing nationalism within Korea and more broadly within Asia.

While it seems reasonable that it is 'Asia's turn' to hold the post, things could go sour if nations view the post as a game of one-up-man-ship against other Asian nations. To give Korea the benefit of the doubt, the appointment of Lee Jong-Wook to the WHO indicates a balance of national pride in having a Korean as head of a prominent international body with expectations that their nationality should play any role in dong their job. There is the risk that North and South Korea might see (or worse try to use) the appointment of a South Korean as UNSG inappropriately.

Currently reading:

"Hell" by Yasutaka Tsutsui