Archive for the ‘Ban’ Category

Ban wins.

October 2, 2006

Tony has all the details over at UNSG.org.

American Right attacks Ban as corrupt

October 2, 2006

If Ban is selected, we can expect to hear more attacks like this over the next 5 years.

One pundit, Alykhan Velshi calls Ban “a crook”. Velshi works at the same think tank as Claudia Rosset, a reporter who has attacked the UN over the Oil for Food “scandal”.

Another says that Ban will be more “general than secretary” and claims that Ban will put little work in to address corruption.

Regardless of the merits of the allegations against Ban, the allegations themselves will create a ready excuse for US conservatives to attack the UN.

Ban attempting coup de grace

October 1, 2006

It appears that Ban Ki-moon is rolling out the endorsements prior to Monday’s colored straw poll, presenting himself as Asia’s consensus candidate.

Sri Lankan press is reporting that Dhanapala and Sri Lanka are throwing support behind Ban.

AP is reporting that Japan will endorse at an upcoming event.  The Japanese Foreign Minister has been quoted as saying:

Assuming a summit meeting can be arranged, (Japan’s endorsement) would be offered at that point.

The only question at this point is who the sole discourage vote was on Thursday’s straw poll and whether more will occur as a consequence of allegations of corruption or improprieties in the way that Ban has fought the campaign.  Speculation is that the UK was responsible for the “discourage” as a delaying tactic. There is a chance that the news stories may solidify that, further encouraging more candidates, which has been the standard line of the UK and the US.

Tomorrow will be quite interesting.

Ban’s trips and aid: A summary

September 29, 2006

The following posts describe BanKi-moon’s travel and aid as we have covered them:

Other people have reported:

  • A maritime agreement with Greece.
  • A piano for Peru.

We have heard of others but have no documentation. We do not want to make suggestions about the integrity of heads of state without at least documentary evidence.

Times of London reports on Ban’s vote buying

September 29, 2006

Update: The Indian press has picked up on this too and going into their typical feeding frenzy.

We have said that this is an extremely important issue and deserves a higher level of scrutiny. Now a mainstream newspaper has documented the charges. The basic framing is:

Mr Ban announced his bid in February and has since been criss-crossing the globe trying to win support. A month later South Korea announced that it would treble its aid budget to Africa to $100 million (£53 million) by 2008. Seoul then contributed tens of thousands of pounds to sponsor this year’s African Union summit in the Gambia in July, when Mr Ban declared 2006 to be “the Year of Africa” for South Korea.

Then the article discusses Tanzania. This is one of the clearest cases that we have discussed:

One fortunate recipient was Tanzania, which currently has a seat on the Security Council. When Mr Ban arrived in May he pledged $18 million for an educational programme and also promised to carry out a road and bridge project in western Tanzania. Between 1991 and 2003 South Korean grants to Tanzania totalled $4.7 million. Seoul’s generosity seems to have worked. Yesterday Elly Matango, the Tanzanian Ambassador to Tokyo and Seoul, said that his Government had decided to support Mr Ban

Next stop Greece:

This month President Roh and Mr Ban headed the most senior South Korean delegation since 1961 to visit Greece, another Security Council member. Overseen by hundreds of South Korean businessmen, the countries signed agreements on trade, tourism and maritime transport.

It is about time that the media gives this race proper scrutiny. We believe that more examples are out there and need to be properly discussed and identified. In many countries, this kind of behavior would disqualify a candidate for public office and open them to criminal prosecution. We have trouble seeing how a candidate that acts like this has any credibility leading the UN.

This is important because it provides the US and UK a reason to veto Ban while also undermining the credibility of the UN. Conservatives in the US especially will use this as another reason to distrust the UN.

Washington Post Columnist Questions Ban for US

September 28, 2006

The Washington Post’s columnist Jim Hoagland:

That warning of the dangers of answered prayers applies particularly to President Bush and his support for Ban Ki Moon, South Korea’s reliably stolid foreign minister, in the highly competitive race to succeed Kofi Annan at year’s end. Bush — pilloried by Third World radicals at last week’s General Assembly opening — may be picking up a lightning rod instead of a shield.

Hoagland reports that the US has committed, at some point, to withdraw its support for Shashi Tharoor:

A shift to voting only for Ban — a move that Bush indicated he would make to South Korean President Roh Moo Hyun at a White House meeting this month — would probably doom the hopes of Tharoor and the other candidates.

Hoagland also mentions our concerns about foreign aid:

South Korea’s generosity in foreign aid and investment decisions may work in Ban’s favor with some nations, it is said in diplomatic understatement in the corridors of the United Nations.

This article suggests that the deal is done. The UK could not sustain a veto unless there was a substantially better candidate.

South Korea to increase development assistance

September 25, 2006

The government of South Korea has announced that it will increase its foreign aid, according to AsiaNews:

Korea spent 0.06 per cent of its Gross National Income (GNI) in development assistance in 2004, which some say is too small for the size of its economy, the 12th largest in the world.

Although South Korea’s spending in development assistance rose to 0.09 percent of GNI last year, it is still far from the United Nations recommendation of 0.7 per cent of the economy.

After Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Ban Ki-moon announced his run for the UN secretary-general’s position, it was pointed out that Korea should raise its development spending to improve its voice in the global community.

So a country has advanced their foreign minister to be UNSG and yet they barely participate in one of the most important parts of the UN agenda, development. And then the year before running for UNSG, they increase their aid by about 50%.

Now in March, South Korea announced that they were increasing aid to Africa by $100m:

South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun announced during his trip to Nigeria in March that his country will triple its Official Development Assistance budget for Africa to approximately US$100 million by 2008.

So what countries will receive this money? We know some. $18m was promised to Tanzania, a UNSC member. We know that more was promised to Ghana, another UNSC member. We have heard that substantial aid has been offered to other countries, but we have not been able to document this.

Note that this is not unheard of. A recent study out of Harvard University found that, “on average, a non-permanent member of the council enjoys a 59- per-cent increase in total aid from the United States and an 8-per- cent increase in total development aid from the United Nations.”

It would be interesting to know the country-by-country breakdown of recent increases in South Korean development assistance.

South Korea drops UNSC bid

August 31, 2006

They announced it Thursday, Xinhua has the details:

“We concluded that, realistically, it would be difficult to win two of the most important elections in the United Nations at the same time,” said a foreign ministry official.

“We informed the UN member states of the decision on Aug. 29,” said the official, adding that South Korea will resume its campaign for membership of the council “as early as possible.”

A sign of confidence in Ban Ki-moon’s candidacy?

What’s up with Ghana?

August 30, 2006

Ban Ki-moon and Surakiart Sathirathai are actively wooing Ghana right now.

A special envoy of the President of South Korea was in Ghana today to deliver a message about the UNSG race:

According to a Ghanaian news agency the content of the message was not disclosed but was believed to be bordering around South Korean Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Ban Ki- Moon’s campaign bid to head the United Nations.

At the same time, Sathirathai was meeting with the VP of Ghana in Bangkok:

He used his one-and-half-hour meeting with the Deputy Prime Minister, Dr Surakiart Sathirathai in Bangkok to explain why the two developing countries should share expertise in cassava and fish production with emphasis on tuna in Ghana for the economic advantage of the two countries.

What is all the excitement about? Does Ghana want their money?

Ban back on Campaign Trail

August 2, 2006

Ban Ki-moon will be visiting Peru and Argentina next week, according to reports in The Korea Times:

During his two-day visit to Peru from Aug. 9, Ban will co-host a policy planning meeting with the country’s newly appointed Foreign Minister Garcia Belaunde to discuss trade, resources and other issues, ministry officials said. He will also meet new Peruvian President Alan Garcia.

Following Peru, Ban, who is running for the position of United Nations secretary-general, will visit Argentina, where he will meet with Vice President Daniel Scioli and Vice Foreign Minister Garcia Moritan to discuss diplomatic ties and promote his bid for the U.N. post, the officials said.

Peru, of course, has a new President. Alan Garcia was sworn in on the 28th, after the most recent straw poll. Therefore Peru’s support may be shifting. There is speculation that one country abstained from expressing any opinion. If it were Peru — and Dhanapala thinks that they abstained for him — then this would be an important vote for Ban to nail down.

Ban will also stop in on Japan, one of the two leading options for Ban’s “discouraging” vote. His trip to Japan will be to go to the Emperor’s funeral. It will be in the context of the continued disagreement over Dokdo Islets, which seems to emerge every time Ban’s campaign kicks into gear.