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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Seoul (Republic of Korea)

04 July 2008

Joint press conference with Prime Minister Han Seung-Soo

[Unofficial transcript (translated from the original Korean)]

Ladies and Gentlemen, good afternoon. It gives me great pleasure to visit my country once again. Itís been eighteen months. And I feel it is very significant that I am able to deliver a press conference in a language that is not officially designated by the United Nations, but which is my mother tongue.

As the Prime Minister just indicated, I had discussions with him, and the Foreign Minister, Yu Myung-hwan, on ways, not only to take our cooperative ties to a higher level, but also we discussed various global issues, including climate change, the Millennium Development Goals, the food crisis, and we were able to engage in very extensive talks on these issues. I also sought ways for Korea to increase its contributions and cooperation in these areas.

Both the United Nations and the Korean Government share the view that the United Nations is the best-placed forum to deal with various global challenges, such as conflicts around the world, as well as the best-placed forum for mustering various leaderships, resources, and we also felt that Korea plays a very significant role in this process.

The Korean Government reaffirmed its determination to increase its concrete contributions to meeting these challenges.

I also expressed my support for the Korean Governmentís Global Korea Initiative.

I asked that Korea take a more active part in UN priorities, such as peacekeeping activities in Sudan, dealing with climate change and the food crisis, and helping to achieve the Millennium Development Goals through bold increases in its Official Development Assistance. I trust that Korea in particular will demonstrate an active leadership in the climate change negotiations under Prime Minister Han, who himself served as the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Climate Change.

I also explained the results of my visits to Japan and China and underscored the importance of active trilateral cooperation among Korea, China and Japan in confronting these global challenges, as members of the most dynamic region. In this context, I extended an invitation for a high level representative of the Korean Government to attend the high-level talks in the United Nations on September 25th.

Both sides noted very highly the Korean Governmentís active role in the Six-Party Talks, and its efforts to promote denuclearization on the Korean peninsula for peace and stability in North East Asia. I hope to see positive developments sustained.

I am also encouraged by recent efforts at trilateral relations among Korea, China and Japan, and express my best wishes for the success of the upcoming September trilateral summit.

I look forward to my meeting with President Lee.

In closing, I would like to thank the Government and the people of Korea for their confidence and support for ensuring the success of my visit, and I will seek to do my best to serve as a successful Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Thank you.