Today’s Vote

Amid the concerns over North Korea’s nuclear tests this morning, Security Council President Kenzo Oshima announced the Security Council’s formal nomination of Ban Ki Moon for a five-year term as UNSG, to run from 1 January 2007 until 31 December 2011. The nominee has been approved by all 15 members by acclamation, the Ambassador noted.

Since early this year, the Council has pledged itself to conclude the selection process by October. The Council members are pleased that by completing the process today, the Council met this goal. We believe that this will ensure that ample time will be secured for transition between the present and incoming Secretaries General. The Council expresses its appreciation to all the Member states which have recommended candidates in the selection process.

The Council decided to proceed with the scheduled formal vote prior to discussions on the North Korean crisis. Though avoiding specifics, Ambassador Oshima suggested that “the fact that the candidate, [who] is the current Foreign Minister of the Republic of Korea, is an asset in dealing with the situation in the Korean Penisula that we are now facing.”

The next step is the appointment process in the General Assembly. It is the wish of the Council that the General Assembly will take necessary steps accordingly. I have asked the President of the General Assembly for prompt steering of the appointment process.

Ban responded to his nomination taking place on the same day as North Korea claimed to conduct a nuclear test.

In a news conference in Seoul, Mr. Ban said the decision was an honor for him and his country. But he added, “This should be a moment of joy, but instead I stand here with a very heavy heart. Despite the concerted warning from the international community, North Korea has gone ahead with a nuclear test.”

U.S. Ambassador John Bolton noted the irony as well.

Bolton told reporters that today’s nomination and yesterday’s test were “quite an appropriate juxtaposition . . . that we’re electing a foreign minister of South Korea secretary general of this organization and meeting, as well, to consider the testing by the North Koreans of a nuclear device.” 

The General Assembly will now consider a draft resolution on the nomination, likely from Japan as current chair of the Asian regional group. In most cases, such resolutions must be circulated to all delegation and not taken up until at least one day later (Rule 78). However, with the approval of the General Assembly, the President can waive this rule and the Assembly could take up the nomination the same day. Most past Secretaries General have been appointed through a consensus vote, although a recorded or secret balloting can be used if requested by a member state. 

UPDATE: It is being reported that the General Assembly will take up the nomination on Friday, October 13th.

Ban is also scheduled to be in New York this week to meet with members of the Asian Regional Group.

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