UN Tells Yonhap of Kim's and Pascoe's Trip to S. Korea, New(s) Strategy
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, January 31 -- With North Korea firing over its maritime
border with South Korea, on January 28 with UN and its Secretary
General Ban Ki-moon had nothing to say, except "we are following
up on that." From the UN's
transcript of its January 28 media
City Press: Has the Secretariat taken note of, and does he have any
comment on this firing, this reported firing from the North
Korean-South Korean maritime border? Do they have concerns about
what it reflects?
Spokesperson Farhan Haq: Yes, we have taken note of that incident. Bear
with me just a second -- let me see if I have something to tell
you on that. I don’t have anything specific to say, but yes, we
have taken note of yesterday’s incident, and we’re certainly
following up on that. [Video here,
fro m Minute 9:45.]
January 31, Yonhap news agency published a scoop from an unnamed UN
Pascoe, U.N. undersecretary-general for political affairs, and Kim
Won-soo, an advisor to Ban, will make a four-day visit to the
communist country, starting on Feb. 9, said the official, requesting
exclusive disclosure to a South Korean outlet, Ban Ki-moon
confirming statement, which did not mention his main advisor Kim
Won-soo. Ban's official statement did not specify which topics will
be discussed with the Kim Jong-Il regime.
reported, again citing its Ban administration source, that "the
special envoys will discuss issues related to North Korea's nuclear
program and humanitarian aid, said the official."
Ban's tenure atop the UN, in May 2007, he
was angered by the leak to
Inner City Press of a internal memo
(""Korea Peninsula UN
Policy and Strategy Submission to the Policy Committee")
proposing that the UN use its "comparative advantage" to
make itself relevant on the North Korea issue.
sending of his South Korea chief advisor as a co-special envoy, the
competitive advantage is being used, and promoted as such to Yonhap
(but not in the subsequent official announcement).
UN's Ban, with Pascoe, Kim Won-soo and Serry,
advantage not yet shown
Back in 2007,
had been forced to order an audit of the UN Development Program's
North Korea practices, including funding project which it could
neither visit nor oversee. UNDP's program had been suspended.
UN memo stated
that "Unless [the suspension] is reversed, the UNDP program
risks being terminated. Rather than being able to support the
six-party talks process and international engagement with North Korea
at this critical juncture, the UN will lose its unique comparative
advantage in that area altogether."
the continuing nuclear standoff and renewed firing across the border,
as well as lack of movement on human rights, UNDP re-started its
North Korea program. And now the Ban administration's "comparative
advantage" is back.
in the UN
system there is a rule against officials working on their own
country's issues. Kim Won-soo, despite his position of power in the
UN, has never given a press conference there, and insists on never --
or nearly never -- being quoted. Now would seem to be the time to
speak. Watch this site.
the choice to semi-official leak the news to South Korea's Yonhap
follows a challenged decision
by Ban's new spokesman Martin Nesirky
-- formerly Reuters' Seoul bureau chief -- to include
television as one of only eight media organization he initially
invited to accompany Ban to Haiti after the earthquake, over CNN,
Bloomberg, EFE and Associated Press.
CNN, AP and two
others were included -- Nesirky has since disputed that he "caved,"
insisting that more seats on the plane were found but granting
conciliatory one on one interviews with Ban, which did not include the
news given days afterwards to Yonhap.)
this news to Yonhap, with Kim Won-soo's name in it, quickly
office issuing a Ban confirmation sans
Kim, will raise
other questions. To be continued.
Haiti, UN of Two Minds on China, No Guidance on Bullets, Florida
Football Games Blocking Medical Flights
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, January 29 -- Two days after the UN's spokesman in Haiti
David Wimhurst denied knowing about UN Peacekeepers shooting even
rubber bullets to control crowds of aid seekers, detailed reports
emerged of "UN troops" shooting 50 caliber guns over
asked the UN's humanitarian coordinator John Holmes about these
reports, and what the UN considers the best practice in crowd control
while aid is distributed. "There is no set standard in the
humanitarian lexicon," Holmes said, adding that the main focus
is that nobody gets hurt. Video here,
from Minute 26:03.
okay? Tear gas? Electrified fences? Are these decision left up to
each country's contingent adopting the UN's blue helmets in Haiti,
including a battalion from Sri Lanka, accused of war crimes?
in the statements of David Wimhurst and Holmes was also raised but
not resolved. On January 27, Wimhurst confirmed to the press that the
Chinese search and rescue team, once it dug out the Chinese diplomats
from the wreckage of the UN's rented Hotel Christopher, left the
Chinese diplomats told Inner City Press to check with John Holmes,
who they cited as on record about additional Chinese work in Haiti --
a country with whose government China has no diplomatic relations,
since Haiti recognized Taiwan.
asked Holmes to square this with what Mr. Wimhurt said. "I don't
know what to add," Holmes said. "That's my understanding,
the Chinese information as well." But was he a witness? Video here,
from Minute 15:34.
UN's Holmes, UNDP's Helen Clark behind:
paying $5 or just $3 a day in Haiti?
in Florida reports
that the flights evacuated injured Haitians to Florida have
stopped, due to the upcoming Super Bowl and Pro Bowl of the
Football League. Inner City Press asked Holmes about this. "I
have no idea," he said. "Ask the Americans."
reporter whispered, "Touchdown!" -- referring also to
Holmes "touchdown" space in the UN compound, now that
others in his office have been moved full time to Madison Avenue.
Football is only simulated war. But the UN in Haiti is shooting with
real bullets. Watch this site.