New UN Secretary General, “more secretary than general”

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South Korean Foreign Minister Bun gee mun has been appointed at an anxious time, following yesterday’s North Korean nuclear missile tests. It is an unofficial rule of the UN that the role of Secretary General rotate amongst the regions of the world. Having recently had Latin American, Arabic and African Secretary-Generals, the job was informally due to go to an Asian. However, UN staff have bemoaned the choice as ‘more secretary than general’, saying that Mr Gee Mun was chosen from a field of lacklustre candidates. During his years as South Korean Foreign Minister, Mr Gee Mun was a key figure in the Six Party Talks aimed at defusing nuclear concerns after North Korea withdrew from the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty in 2003. He was criticised for allegedly conducting an expensive campaign to win UN votes, including donating millions of dollars to African nations as part of the South Korean government, and declaring 2006 to be South Korea’s ‘Year of Africa’. Professor Yul Kwon, director of the Australian Centre for Korean Studies at Griffith University, outlined what was Mr Gee Mun’s approach to his foreign affairs portfolio.

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