Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade
Seoul--(뉴스와이어) 2008년 07월 04일 -- The United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Korea Thursday (July 3).
His five-day visit is part of an Asia trip that is also taking him to Japan and China.
Ban was greeted by Prime Minister Han Seung-soo at the airport, before participating in a ceremony to receive a U.N. flag from Korea's first astronaut Lee So-yeon, who took it into space in April.
Ban also met Korean troops who will be dispatched to the Dongmyeong Unit as members of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon.
At the meeting with the troops, Ban expressed his hope that Korea will participate more in UN peacekeeping operations. Korea has dispatched 350 soldiers to southern Lebanon as U.N. peacekeeping forces.
South Korea raised its aid to underdeveloped countries by 48 percent year-on-year in 2007, but critics say it should give more. The world's 13th largest economy, which provided $672 million in aid last year, ranked 19th in terms of international assistance among members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Later in the day, Ban received an honorary doctorate from his alma mater, Seoul National University.
Ban, Korea's former foreign minister before taking the top U.N. job, met with current Minister Yu Myung-hwan and attended a dinner hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Seoul.
The Secretary-General's first homecoming will include a meeting with President Lee Myung-bak and a visit to his rural hometown of Eumseong, North Chungcheong Province, over the weekend.
Ban will return to Japan on Monday, where he will attend the July 7-9 summit of the Group of Eight industrialized nations. His first leg of the regional tour was Japan, followed by China.