By Alex Jensen
SEOUL (AA) - Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon cautioned Wednesday that U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon could “abuse” international secrets if he were to become South Korea’s next president.
Ban’s second term as U.N. chief is set to conclude at the end of this year, theoretically allowing him enough time to enter next year’s presidential race in his homeland.
“U.N. secretary-generals have access to confidential information around the globe. If they become officials of a single government, they could abuse the information,” Park told local broadcaster YTN Radio.
But Seoul’s mayor – himself a touted hopeful – asserted that Ban should respect the convention that guided most of his predecessors away from government berths.
Speculation over the 71-year-old’s political future has intensified to the extent that media surveys in February saw him lead a list of possible candidates for president.
Ban is being watched closely with Wednesday marking the start of a six-day visit to South Korea.
If he were to run, Ban may be seen as the likeliest person to galvanize the country’s conservative politics after the opposition’s shock victory in last month’s parliamentary election – although he did serve as foreign minister under South Korea’s last liberal administration a decade ago.
With no clear front-runner consistently leading early presidential polls, Ban is yet to rule himself in or out of contention.