South Korean Ban Ki-Moon Nominated UN Secretary General

The next leader of the United Nations will be South Korean.

South Korea’s foreign minister was officially nominated Monday as the next U.N. secretary-general, and he pledged to work to resolve the North Korean nuclear crisis hours after the communist regime announced it had tested a nuclear weapon.

“This should be a moment of joy. But instead, I stand here with a very heavy heart,” Ban Ki-Moon told reporters in Seoul, South Korea. “Despite the concerted warning from the international community,
North Korea has gone ahead with a nuclear test.”

Ban, 62, was nominated by the U.N. Security Council to succeed Kofi Annan, whose term expires at the end of the year. He faces likely confirmation by the U.N. General Assembly.

Japan’s U.N. Ambassador Kenzo Oshima asked the 192-nation world body to act promptly to give final approval to Ban so he can have a sufficient transition before taking over as U.N. chief on Jan. 1, after Annan’s second five-year term ends. “I think the fact that the candidate is currently foreign minister of the Republic of Korea is an asset in dealing with the situation in the Korean peninsula that we are now facing,” he said.

Interesting symbolism, anyway. Given how little the United Nations matters in resolving international security crises, it’s unlikely that Ban will be any more effective than Annan. He certainly couldn’t be any less effective.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. madmatt says:

    I thought it was latin americas turn to head the UN?

  2. James Joyner says:

    Historically, there hasn’t been a “turn” system, with most Secretary Generals coming from Europe (but not Security Council Permanent Members). If we’re looking at very recent trends, though, it would seem to be Asia’s “turn.”

      Gladwyn Jebb (October 24, 1945—February 02, 1946) United Kingdom (Acting)

      Trygve Halvdan Lie (February 2, 1946—November 10, 1952) Norway

      Dag Hammarskjöld (April 10, 1953—September 18, 1961) Sweden

      U Thant (November 30, 1961—December 31, 1971) Burma

      Kurt Waldheim (January 1, 1972—December 31, 1981) Austria

      Javier Pérez de Cuéllar (January 1, 1982—December 31, 1991) Peru

      Boutros Boutros-Ghali (January 1, 1992—December 31, 1996) Egypt

      Kofi Annan (January 1, 1997—December 31, 2006) Ghana

    So, it’s been Europe, Europe, Europe, Asia, Europe, Latin America, Africa/Middle East, Africa. It’s definitely not Latin America’s turn. Either North America or Australia/Oceana should be next in line but the former only has two eligible states (Canada and Mexico, since USA is a Permanent Member) and the latter is pretty small and essentially Europe diaspora. If we skip NA/Aus for those reasons, it’s Asia’s turn!

  3. ron says:

    Hey, Hey, Hey, don’t sell the man short. Maybe, just maybe he CAN be less effective than Annan. It will be tough, but if he can just give it all the nothing he’s got, he just might do it!