By Advait Moharir
South Korean diplomat and former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has hinted that he would be running for the presidency of South Korea. This bid comes in the context of the ongoing impeachment of Park Guen Hye for abuse of power. With the Prime Minister and the Constitutional Court having 180 days to rule upon the validity of the impeachment, South Korean politics is in a state of turmoil.The validity of the impeachment of Ms Park Guen Hye on corruption charges is currently under the 180 day rule | Photo Courtesy: WordPress
[su_pullquote align=”right”]Mr. Ban has shown that he can accept faults when they are untenable[/su_pullquote]
Ban Ki-moon has left behind a mixed legacy as the UN Secretary General. His role in increasing UN Peacekeeping Forces, reducing child mortality and consolidating the Paris Accord is significant and praiseworthy. However, he has shown orthodox, overcautious and indecisive tendencies when it comes to taking crucial and major decisions. This was visible in his handling of cholera outbreak in Haiti due to a UN Peacekeeping camp or slow investigation of allegations of sexual assault against the Peacekeeping Forces. His passive response to the human rights crisis in Syria also came under much criticism. However, Mr. Ban has shown that he can accept faults when they are untenable, as he openly called out the UNSC for not protecting civilian rights in Syria, his apology for the cholera crisis in Haiti or his condemnation of Saudi airstrikes on Yemen.
[su_pullquote]His consistent capture of about more than 20% of the vote shows that he is a strong candidate[/su_pullquote]
As far as South Korean politics are concerned, Ban Ki-moon could bring his vast international experience onto the table to resolve South Korea’s tense relations with North Korea and China. His non-obtrusive, but firm and stable, approach would help consolidate a channel of communication. He has previously served as the Deputy Minister for Policy Planning, and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, showing that he has had enough administrative experience at the ground level. His consistent capture of about more than 20% of the vote shows that he is a strong candidate. His long years as a diplomat has also given him a broader understanding of worldwide global issues like poverty and climate change and thus he will have extensive knowledge of these to align South Korea’s development path in sync with global trends.
A few red-flags
There are certain concerns too. A revamp of South Korean politics would require critical and major reformative steps.
S. Korea currently requires certain swift, decisive and hard hitting steps and Mr. Ban’s conservative and cautious approach might not be conducive to the same. Also, the role of the Secretary General is mainly of being the “face” of the UN and the major point of contact for member nations to communicate with the administration of the UN. In the present context, the role of President would be much more hands-on and will require deeper understanding of the pulse of the population and cater to popular demands, and yet keep the policy in line with global trends. This role distinction is difficult to achieve.
In the end, Mr. Ban’s competency for the role will be determined by whether he uses his learnings of the last decade effectively to think globally and act locally.
Featured Image Source: The Japan Times
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