Korean to take on Annan’s UN job
South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon has been formally elected the next United Nations secretary general, in a vote in the General Assembly.
The resolution, adopted unanimously, follows Mr Ban’s nomination to succeed Kofi Annan by the UN Security Council.
Mr Annan is due to step down on 31 December after heading the UN for two five-year terms.
Mr Ban, 62, will be the first Asian to head the UN since Burma’s U Thant, who held the post from 1961 to 1971.
The general assembly confirmed Mr Ban’s appointment by acclamation - without a vote - on the basis of approval by all 192 members.
Afterwards he told delegates he was “deeply honoured” and vowed to use his position to ensure that the organisation achieved more.
“The true measure of success for the UN is not how much we promise, but how much we deliver for those who need us most,” Mr Ban said.
“The UN is needed now more than ever before,” he added.
Mr Ban cited poverty, HIV/Aids, environmental degradation, protecting human rights and combating terrorism among his priorities.
He also mentioned reforms - a key demand of the US, the UN’s biggest contributor - but hinted that he would lead the process at his own pace.
“We reform not to please others, but because we value what this organisation stands for,” he said.
“We cannot change everything at once. But if we choose wisely, and work together transparently, flexibly and honestly, progress in a few areas will lead to progress in a few more.”
Mr Ban’s appointment comes as the UN is trying to resolve the crisis over North Korea’s nuclear programme.
He has played key roles in dealing with the standoff, both as South Korea’s foreign minister and as its ambassador to the UN.
There was a broad consensus within the UN that the next secretary general should be Asian.
Mr Annan congratulated his successor, hailing him as “a man with a truly global mind” with “exceptional qualifications”.
One of six candidates for the post, Mr Ban came top of all four informal polls in the Security Council and his five rivals all quit the race.