Korea's Lee Says UN to Help Sinking Probe, UN Says Nothing
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, April 8 -- Days after a South Korean Navy ship Cheonan's
deadly sinking, President Lee Myung-bak told the press that the
United Nations, headed by former South Korean diplomat Ban Ki-moon,
would be assisting in determining the cause of the incident.
when on April 7
Inner City Press Inner City Press asked Mr. Ban's Deputy Spokesperson
Marie Okabe about President Lee's statement, Ms. Okabe professed not
to know anything about any UN assistance to South Korea. From the UN
transcript, video here
City Press: wanted to ask, President Lee [Myung-bak] of [the Republic
of] Korea, in light of the ship that sank, has said that he is
seeking or has obtained UN expertise to investigate the causes of the
sinking of the ship. Has [the Republic of] Korea asked for UN help?
Spokesperson Okabe: I have nothing on that. If that is a press
report, I have not seen that yet. Okay?
this is not okay.
If the president of a G-20 member like South Korea says that the UN
"will" help with something, one should be able to believe
UN's Ban and South Korea's President Lee: request and message lost?
Presse, long before the UN's April 7 noon briefing, reported that
are going to carry out a very objective investigation, even with help
from the United Nations, so that we may have results which cannot be
denied by anybody," Lee told a meeting with senior citizens.
have to cooperate with experts from advanced countries and the United
Nations to carry out a thorough probe and (when the results come
out), the government must take stern measures." Lee's office
confirmed the comments
which ran the first on the
record quote from Mr. Ban's senior advisor
Kim Won-soo about his trip to North Korea earlier this year, reported
well before the April 7 noon briefing:
to members of the Korean Senior Citizens Association at a Blue House
luncheon, Lee said halfhearted efforts wouldn’t get the job done.
“Experts from developed nations and the United Nations will
together carry out painstaking investigations,” Lee was quoted as
saying by the Blue House. “They will come up with findings that no
one can ever refute, and the government will take firm measures as
Addressing speculation surrounding the sinking,
Lee reiterated the importance of “credibility.”
important. Watch this site.
* * *
UN's Ban Rolls Dice on N. Korea Trip, Kim Won-soo Is
Asked to Brief Press
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, February 3 -- UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, returning
from a brief trip during which protesters in South Sudan told him to
"repent before judgment" while he was snubbed in Cyprus by
four political parties, is said by close observers to be "rolling
the dice" on a trip to
be remembered as the S-G when the Koreas reunited," the close
insider said. "If it happens, all the other failures will be
the upcoming trip to Ban's closest inner circle is reflected by on
the record quotes that his main advisor Kim Won soo -- Ban's Karl
Rove, as some put it -- gave
to the JoongAng Daily. Inner City Press
asked Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky, with his own Korean
connections, about the quote at Wednesday noon briefing, UN
City Press... You said the other three members; who are the other
three members of Mr. Pascoe’s team?
Nesirky: Kim Won-soo, the Deputy Chef de Cabinet is one of them, and
two other members of staff.
City Press: Of DPA or of the Executive Office of the Secretary
One of each.
City Press: Okay. I had asked earlier about when it was first
announced that Kim Won-soo was quoted in Joong Ang Daily, describing
the trip, saying it may have a nuclear component, as well as
humanitarian. So, I was wondering, I mean, those are his quotes,
right? That he spoke on the record Joong Ang?
Well, you have to ask Kim Won-soo.
City Press: That’s why I asked. When it first came up, I actually
asked whether he could be a part of the briefing with Lynn Pascoe,
since I don’t think he’s ever briefed the media on the record,
but he seems to have a pretty important role within the Executive
Office of the Secretariat, and obviously he is willing to speak on
the record to at least some media. Is that possible to convey that
UN's Kim, at left, with UN's Ban and Munoz, on glaciers
I will certainly convey it.
Ban and his entourage, including Vijay Nambiar and Lynn Pascoe,
passed the Press at the Security Council stakeout, Kim Won-soo waved
over. Correspondents recounted anecdotes from Ban's trip last month
to Haiti. There was general agreement: Mister Kim must brief the
press, and on the record. We'll see. Watch this site.
* * *
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.