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Japan backs South Korea's Ban Ki-Moon

Japan plans to endorse South Korean FM Ban Ki-Moon's candidacy to become the next UN secretary-general.

india Updated: Oct 01, 2006 16:37 IST
Associated Press
Associated Press

Japan plans to endorse the candidacy of South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-Moon to become the next secretary-general of the United Nations, a newspaper reported on Sunday.

The endorsement of Ban as Kofi Annan's successor is expected to come at an upcoming Japan-South Korea summit, although a date for the meeting has not been set, the Asahi newspaper quoted Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso as saying.

"Assuming a summit meeting can be arranged, (Japan's endorsement) would be offered at that occasion," Aso said on Friday, according to the Asahi.

Foreign Ministry officials were not immediately available to comment on the report.

New Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters on Friday that he and South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun had agreed to hold a summit the first in nearly a year but that no date had been decided.

Media reports have suggested that the meeting—seen as an attempt to smooth tense relations between the Asian neighbours—could take place as early as October 8.

Roh had refused since last year to meet Abe's predecessor, Junichiro Koizumi, because of his repeated visits to a Tokyo war shrine that critics say glorifies Japanese militarism. The two last met in November 2005.

Informal polls of the United Nations' 15-member Security Council have shown Ban to be the only candidate with a good chance of winning the race to succeed Annan.

The straw polls are not binding. The council's recommendation to replace Annan when he steps down on December 31 must be approved by the 192-nation General Assembly.

First Published: Oct 01, 2006 16:37 IST