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Ban Meets With Top Rep Of Korea Officials In Seoul

Ban meets with top Republic of Korea officials in Seoul

4 July 2008 – Ban Ki-moon met today with top officials in his native Republic of Korea, on the second day of his first official visit to the country since taking office as United Nations Secretary-General over 18 months ago.

Mr. Ban held talks with President Lee Myung-bak, Prime Minister Han Seung-soo and Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan in Seoul.

He also addressed the East Asian nation's National Assembly and attended a wreath-laying ceremony at the National Cemetery.

The Secretary-General arrived in the Republic of Korea yesterday from China, the second stop on a three-nation tour that also took him to Japan.

He was welcomed home with a 21-gun salute and marching band and was greeted at the airport by the Prime Minister and other officials.

In a speech to students and faculty at his alma mater Seoul National University – which bestowed an honorary doctorate on him yesterday – Mr. Ban exhorted his fellow countrymen to play a larger role in addressing pressing global challenges such as climate change, rising food and energy prices and terrorism.

Also on his first day in Seoul, he met a group of Korean peacekeepers who will shortly join the UN peacekeeping mission in Lebanon. He told the soldiers that during the Korean War, the country received help from the UN and the international community, and it is time for the Koreans to give back.

Mr. Ban met Yi So-yeon, the female Korean astronaut who recently carried the UN flag into outer space. She presented him with that flag as well as photos from her trip. The Secretary-General praised the important role that women are playing in all fields of work in the Republic of Korea and throughout the world.

On Monday, the Secretary-General will return to Japan to attend the Group of Eight (G-8) summit of industrialized nations in the northern island of Hokkaido.

ENDS

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