This is IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English.
South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon is expected to become
secretary-general of the United Nations on January first. Mister Ban was the
winner this week in unofficial voting by the Security Council. He was the only
one who did not receive a vote of opposition from a member with veto power.
Five countries can veto a council vote: Britain, China, France, Russia and
the United States. These are the five permanent members. The council also has
ten elected members.
The ballots were secret. But the votes of permanent members were signaled for
the first time by a different colored ballot paper.
The council plans to take an official vote on Monday to nominate the next
secretary-general. Then the nomination will go to the one hundred ninety-two
members of the General Assembly. Traditionally, the General Assembly has
approved the nomination of the Security Council.
There were six candidates in the fourth and final unofficial vote. Shashi
Tharoor finished second. The Indian writer is the U.N. undersecretary-general
for public information. He congratulated Mr. Ban and withdrew his candidacy.
The second five-year term of Secretary-General Kofi Annan of Ghana ends on
December thirty-first. Ban Ki-moon would be the eighth U.N. secretary-general.
He would be the first from Asia since U Thant of Burma. U Thant led the United
Nations from 1961 to 1971.
John Bolton, the American ambassador to the United Nations, said the United
States was very pleased with the result of the vote. Mister Bolton noted that he
and Mister Ban had worked together on the plan that led to U.N. membership for
both North and South Korea. Both countries joined the United Nations in 1991.
Ban Ki-moon was born in Chungju in 1944. He joined South Korea’s foreign
service in nineteen seventy after studying international relations at Seoul
He says he wanted to be a diplomat ever since he was eighteen, when he met
President John Kennedy at the White House. Mr. Ban later earned a master's
degree from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.
He became foreign minister of South Korea in January of 2004. Earlier he
served as chief aide to the president of the U.N. General Assembly. Mr. Ban has
played a part in the six-nation talks about North Korea’s nuclear activity.
He announced his candidacy for secretary-general in February.
Ban Ki-moon is often described as soft-spoken. But he says he takes strength
from recent Korean history and the progress Koreans have made since experiencing
Major issues that will face the next U.N. chief include the nuclear disputes
with Iran and North Korea and the violence in Darfur, Sudan.
IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English was written by Brianna Blake. Transcripts
and audio archives of our reports are on the Web at voaspecialenglish.com. I’m