At UN, Korean Staff Rise from 51 to 70 in Ban's Two
Years, on Pianos and Lobbyists, An Evolution
Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of
Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis
December 20 -- As Ban Ki-moon approaches
his third year UN Secretary-General, the tug of his home country South
remains in evidence, which some around him seek to change. During a
last month to Bangladesh, India, Nepal and the Philippines, South
Korean business representatives sought
repeatedly to meet Ban, and even got themselves listed on his schedule,
staffer took them off. The just-released List of UN Staff as of July 1,
shows 70 South Korean UN staff, up from 51 two years ago. Of the top
official in the Office of the Secretary-General, three are Korean,
Kim Won-soo, the
advisor sometimes called Ban's brain, in a reference to Karl Rove and
George W. Bush.
first half-year at the UN, questions about what some
called the Koreanization of the
were met with denials
and even threats. Inner City Press sought the List
of Staff as of July 1, 2006 and was told that it would not be released.
Obtaining a copy nonetheless, Inner City Press published the
list of Korea
staff, as a baseline. Ban's Spokesperson's Office
complained, saying that the list could not be published. As an
Inner City Press then redacted the names from the list, and is not
full names in this then-promised update
however, that for the last name Choi, there were three UN staff in
and seven in mid-2008. The new hires
include Under Secretary General Choi Young-Jin, head of the UN mission
d'Ivoire, and Assistant Secretary General Choi Soon Hong, Ban's chief
technology officer. To be fair, Han Seung-Soo has fallen off the list,
returned to South Korea to serve as Prime Minister. Some predict more
eastward migration. More generally, a Ban administration shake-up
is predicted for early 2009, on which we will report.
UN's Ban on recent trip, un-scheduling of
Korean businessmen not shown
December 17 holiday party, he told the press that only the day before,
company had donated a piano for his Sutton Place residence. Some sought
snoop around to see the renovated kitchen used, it has been reported,
own Korean chef. Inner City Press chose not to look around, and as luck
have it handed Ban a wine glass when he needed one to make a toast.
scheduler, Yoon Yeocheol, joked genially that "you are taking over my
job." Ban introduced a pianist, also Korean, who played with energy his
Korea's contributions to UN Peacekeeping have gone up; statements have
made about the Millennium Development Goals and climate change.
between North and South Korea have not meaningfully improved, what with
Korea's recent expulsion of Southerners.
An internal Ban
strategizing how Ban's UN could take a central role in Korean
Peninsula matters, Inner City Press'
reporting on which also led to
push-back and a refusal to comment on leaked documents,
has not borne fruit. One if left wondering if,
just as Team Ban never announced the appointment of Robert Fowler as
envoy to Niger, there might be a stealth envoy to the Korean Peninsula
existence and name has not been announced.
on some officials' voluntary public financial disclosure, the UN's
has yet to improve under Ban. Only this week, Inner City Press was told
the list of UN envoys should not be publicized or provided, and that even
terms of Robert Fowler's mandate are confidential. Click here for more. In
connection with this month's Middle East Quartet meeting in New York,
to and from Tony Blair in his UN role on the Quartet were not disclosed
letters, at his holiday party Ban told the press of a Korean saying,
that if you
really love a girl, a potential girlfriend, you should write her ten
letters before getting some answer from her. While his point was not
clear -- other than his obvious and endearing love for his wife -- it
to concern persistence, which among with independence is needed not
only in running but also in
covering the United Nations.
Click here from Inner City Press'
December 12 debate on UN double standards
Click here for Inner
City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics
Click here for Inner City
Press Nov. 7 debate on the war in Congo
Watch this site, and this Oct. 2 debate, on
UN, bailout, MDGs
and this October 17 debate, on
Security Council and Obama and the UN.
* * *
usually also available through Google
News and on Lexis-Nexis.
for a Reuters
AlertNet piece by this correspondent
about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click
for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali
Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an
undefined trust fund. Video
UN Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017
Reporter's mobile (and
earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available
in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.
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