The office is currently abuzz, with everyone racing around to prepare for the arrival this afternoon of His Excellency Mr. BAN Ki-moon, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of the Republic of Korea, as we refer to him around these parts (the caps are to prevent a recurrence of the unfortunate recent incident in which a Congolese representative referred to the Minister as “Mr. Moon”).
Minister Ban will be making his longest stay ever in New York, hanging around until the early morning of the 28th. During this extended visit, he will be speaking at the United Nations General Assembly, holding bilateral meetings with as many foreign ministers as he can manage, and otherwise meeting and greeting anyone and everyone who might have some influence over the selection of the next Secretary-General. This dense schedule will no doubt keep the Mission staff ferociously busy during the next week, leaving only us scribes to twiddle our thumbs until the Minister once again heads home.
As for Minister Ban’s bid to become the next Secretary-General, it’s looking good at the moment. In the latest straw poll of the Security Council, Ban came out with 14 “Encourage” votes and just one “Discourage,” putting him at the top of the list. The big question, of course, is whether that “Discourage” came from Japan, which has no veto power, or from either China or the United States, which as permanent members could quash his candidacy. There is always the possibility of a dark-horse candidate, but whatever happens, it looks like the Security Council will vote no later than October.