UN chief arrives in South Korea

Seoul, May 25 (IANS) UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrived in South Korea on Wednesday for a six-day visit that has spurred speculation of a possible bid for the presidency in his native country.

Ban, who is visiting the southern resort island of Jeju after a humanitarian summit in Istanbul, will attend the Jeju Forum for Peace and Prosperity, Yonhap news agency reported.

His meetings with Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn and ruling party lawmakers are being focused upon.

Ban has been talked about as a potential contender in the December 2017 presidential election, and in the wake of its crushing defeat in April’s parliamentary elections, the ruling Saenuri Party has appeared especially eager to woo the UN chief.

He is scheduled to attend a dinner hosted by Unification Minister Hong Yong-pyo on Wednesday.

Ban has sought to distance himself from domestic politics, saying he wants to focus on his current job. But he has stopped short of saying he won’t run for president.

With the UN chief’s second five-year term ending in December, opinion polls have consistently ranked him high among potential presidential contenders from both the ruling and opposition camps.

After delivering a keynote address in Jeju on Thursday, Ban will leave for Japan to attend the G7 summit, and return back to South Korea on Friday to attend the Rotary International Convention in Goyang, just outside of Seoul.



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