Ban Ki-moon, the Foreign Minister of South Korea, is coming to the United States next week for a meeting with Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice (previous meeting pictured). He’ll also be swinging through New York next Tuesday and Wednesday for a meeting with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, whose term ends on December 31.
The race to be the next Secretary-General is on, and though Minister Ban is not yet shortlisted, he’s beginning to position himself as an alternative to the Sri Lankan and Thai frontrunners, about whom no one is especially enthusiastic. (According to the geographical rotation system, the next SG should come from Asia, though the US has suggested that the rotation is less important than finding a worthy candidate.) Earlier this week, I was asked to edit talking points for Minister Ban to use at the Davos Forum, which involved a lot of “If I were Secretary-General” hypotheticals and answers to questions about multilateralism and UN reform.
It will be interesting to see how this race plays out over the next year, and to watch what becomes of Minister Ban’s bid.