On a day when North Korea stunned the world with its nuclear test, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) officially nominated its adversary, South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon to be the next Secretary-General of the world body.
Voted by acclamation on Monday after the withdrawal of all six other aspirants, including India’s Shashi Tharoor, Ban’s nomination is expected to be formally approved by the 192-member General Assembly within a week or two.
Diplomats at the UN have speculated in recent days that the North Korean plans were timed in part to coincide with Ban’s nomination — and reclusive North Korean leader Kim Jong Il’s own ninth year in power after succeeding his father, Kim Il Sung, as head of the Korean Workers' Party
In Seoul, Ban expressed gratitude over his nomination and said he would work to resolve the crisis over North Korea's nuclear programme. He said the South Korean government fully supported the immediate convening of the UNSC for an emergency meeting to deal with the situation arising out of the tests. “Our government has issued a strong statement expressing our deepest concern. All consequences should be borne by North Koreans,” he said.