United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, accompanied by Mrs. Ban Soon-taek, arrived in Busan, the second city of the Republic of Korea, on the evening of Tuesday, 29 November, after a flight from New York with a transfer in Seoul. The main aim of the visit was to attend the fourth High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness, co-hosted by the Government of the Republic of Korea and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
On the morning of Wednesday, 30 November, the Secretary-General met with Kim Sung-hwan, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade of the Republic of Korea. They discussed global challenges, including sustainable development, climate change and innovative financing. They exchanged views on regional topics such as Afghanistan and the Korean peninsula. The Secretary-General thanked the Minister for the Korean Government’s willingness to deploy peacekeepers to the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).
The Secretary-General next took part in the formal opening of the High-Level Forum and delivered welcoming remarks. He said the forum was being held at a crucial time, with aid under pressure everywhere. He said cutting aid would not balance budgets, but it would hurt the most vulnerable people in the world. He urged new and emerging donors to step up and contribute more, commensurate with their new global position. (See Press Release SG/SM/13984)
The Secretary-General had a range of other bilateral meetings. With Somsavat Lengsavad, the Deputy Prime Minister of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, he discussed United Nations-Laos cooperation, the United Nations-Association of South-East Asian Nations partnership and Myanmar, as well as global challenges, including achieving the Millennium Development Goals and sustainable development.
The Secretary-General also discussed the Millennium Development Goals and sustainable development with Andrew Mitchell, the Secretary of State for International Development of the United Kingdom. The Secretary-General commended the country for increasing official development assistance, despite public spending cuts and for its commitment to the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund. The Secretary-General also said he was shocked and outraged to hear of the attacks in which demonstrators entered the British Embassy in Tehran, briefly abducted embassy staff and damaged property.
In a meeting with the María Antonieta Guillen Bográn, the Vice-President of Honduras, the Secretary-General discussed the threat of organized crime and drug trafficking for Central America, as well as the human rights situation in Honduras. He expressed concern about the deterioration of the security situation in Honduras. They discussed the possibility of a United Nations exploratory mission at an early date.
The Secretary-General met the President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame. They discussed developments in the Great Lakes region, including in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as peace and security matters in the region. They also discussed Rwanda’s initiatives to promote the United Nations agenda on the Millennium Development Goals and peacebuilding. The Secretary-General expressed his gratitude to President Kagame’s Government for its support for United Nations peacekeeping efforts.
Next the Secretary-General attended a lunch for High-Level Forum heads of delegation, hosted by Lee Myung-bak, the President of the Republic of Korea.
The Secretary-General and Mrs. Ban also visited the United Nations Memorial Cemetery in Korea to pay tribute to those who lost their lives fighting for the United Nations during the Korean War. He met several South Koreans who fought in the war and representatives from some of the troop-contributing countries. He said he would leave the Cemetery all the more determined to carry forward the cause of peace for which the soldiers gave their lives. (See Press Release SG/SM/13985)
That evening, the Secretary-General met the Mayor of Busan Metropolitan City, Hur Nam-sik, and attended a dinner hosted by Private-Sector Forum business leaders. Earlier that afternoon, he also met Hur Chang-soo, Chair of the Federation of Korean Industries, and Lee Seung-han, Chair of Global Compact-Korea.
On the morning of 1 December, the Secretary-General met leaders of United Nations agencies participating in the High-Level Forum who are members of the United Nations Development Group. He also met leaders from the GAVI Alliance and Global Fund.
Next, before leaving Busan, the Secretary-General and Madam Ban visited nearby Bongha, the hometown of the late Roh Moo-hyun, to pay respects at a memorial and to meet the widow of the former President of the Republic of Korea. Ban Ki-moon served President Roh as Foreign Minister and earlier as diplomatic adviser.
Later in Seoul, the Secretary-General and Madam Ban met former President Kim Young-sam at his residence. The Secretary-General served separately as Chief of Protocol and National Security Adviser at the presidential Blue House under President Kim.
Before leaving the Republic of Korea, the Secretary-General spoke by telephone with Najib Mikati, the Prime Minister of Lebanon. He told the Prime Minister he was very pleased the Lebanese Government had decided to transfer to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon the 49 per cent of the 2011 budget for which the country is responsible. He expressed his gratitude for the Prime Minister’s personal efforts in that regard.
The Secretary-General, accompanied by Madam Ban, returned to New York from Seoul that evening.