Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has wrapped up a visit to his native Republic of Korea (ROK) by paying tribute to former president Kim Dae-jung, who passed away earlier today.
In Seoul, the capital, Mr. Ban visited the temporary mourning altar set up for Mr. Kim and voiced his sorrow and sense of personal loss.
“Kim Dae-jung was a great son of the Korean nation and a compassionate champion of human rights and democracy,” Mr. Ban said in a statement issued by his spokesperson, voicing “great sorrow and a sense of personal loss.”
“He inspired millions with his unswerving commitment to the reunification of Korea through his ‘sunshine policy’ of engagement between the North and South,” he added, paying tribute to Mr. Kim's “noble life of dedication to the goals of peace, democracy and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula.”
While in Seoul, the Secretary-General discussed how to resolve the nuclear crisis in neighbouring Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and other global challenges, including climate change, with the current leader, President Lee Myung-bak.
He also visited the Korea National Red Cross Headquarters and met with First Vice Minister Kwon Jong-rak, the Global Compact Korea Association and the board of the International Vaccine Institute.
During his 10-day private visit to the ROK, Mr. Ban gave several speeches calling for urgent action on climate change and lauding the benefits of ushering in a ‘green’ economy.
Tomorrow he is expected to attend events commemorating the sixth anniversary of the Baghdad bombing and the first observance of the World Humanitarian Day at United Nations Headquarters in New York.