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On DPRK Test, Ban Says He Talks With All Parties, But Admits Not N. Korea

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 12 – Alongside the nuclear test in North Korea, Monday evening UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon appeared at the Council on Foreign Relations on Park Avenue in New York.

  Ban said he had two main issues: Syria and climate change. He said the North Korea, or the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea as he called it, could be asked about afterward along with Mali, Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of Congo (on which no questions at all were selected at CFR).

  When moderator Christiane Amanpour asked him who he speaks to in North Korea, Ban admitted: no one. He said that the North Koreans don't talk on the phone with anyone outside.

  But what then was that smart phone Kim Jong-un was photographed with? And what about Bill Richardson? Google?

  The CFR session ended with a question from the chair of Ban's own Democracy Fund, after Ban was allowed to dodge a question about the UN's failure in Sri Lanka. (Inner City Press was there; no questions on DR Congo or Sudan were allowed, only CFR dues-paying members.)

   Late Monday night, New York time, news circulated first on Twitter about the nuclear test. By 11 pm some knew of a Security Council meeting set for 9 am on Tuesday.

   The South Korean mission, which holds the Security Council presidency for February, sent out an e-mail about the meeting and that their foreign minister, Ban's previous post, would speak to the press at the Council takeout after that meeting. (Inner City Press will cover the meeting and stakeout, live.)

  But even before that announcement, Ban Ki-moon put out a statement calling North Korea's defiance “deplorable” and saying that he “remains in close contact with all concerned parties.”

   So North Korea itself is NOT a “concerned party”? Because Ban had just admitted he is not any any contact, much less close contact, with North Korea. Should a diplomat be found who IS in such contact? Watch this site.

Footnote: At CFR Ban said he'll be in Washington February 13 and 14. Will he still go, and if so, what will his talking points be? Will the DRC, where the UN actually has a $1 billion a year peacekeeping mission, be shunted out of even the read-out “highlights,” as it was from Ban's doling of lunch and quotes to his UN Censorship Alliance, UNCA, on February 7?

    Inner City Press on behalf of the Free UN Coalition for Access, FUNCA, asked for a transcript and was told no. DRC was discussed but some was off the record; apparently only UNCA's 13 opaque apostles are trusted by Ban. We'll see.

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