Ban Ki-Moon 248.88.
(photo credit: AP)
South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon expressed gratitude Monday for being nominated as UN secretary-general and said he would work to resolve the crisis over North Korea's nuclear program after the communist country said it conducted an unprecedented atomic test.
If appointed to the top job at the global body, Ban said he would "contribute as much as I can to the resolution of all kinds of problems including the North Korean nuclear issue that may threaten international peace and security."
Ban was nominated earlier Monday by the UN Security Council to succeed Kofi Annan, whose term expires at the end of the year. He faces likely confirmation by the UN General Assembly.
Ban's nomination came hours after the North said it had conducted its first-ever nuclear test, defying international pleas against such a move.
"This should be a moment of joy. But instead, I stand here with a very heavy heart," Ban said. "Despite the concerted warning from the international community, North Korea has gone ahead with a nuclear test."
Ban called North Korea's move an "act of provocation" and "a grave and direct threat to the peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia."
South Korea will "be firm and resolute in adhering to the principle of no tolerance of a nuclear North Korea," Ban said.
"In close cooperation and consultation with the countries concerned and the international community, we will seek firm and strong measures so as to get North Korea to abandon all of its nuclear weapons and related programs," he said.
Ban also said he will show "leadership by example" in leading UN reforms as head of the world body.
"It is true that the UN has not lived up to the expectations of the international community in terms of efficiency, transparency and accountability," he said. "I will endeavor to make substantial contributions to making progress."
Israel has also thrown its support behind the nomination of Ki-Moon, who Israel sees as a friend, to replace Annan.
with Hilary Leila Krieger
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