China backs Ban for second term as UN chief

China backs Ban for second term as UN chief

China backs Ban for second term as UN chief

Ban, who has led the United Nations since January 2007, today put himself forward for a second five-year term as secretary general. "As a native Asian, Mr Ban Ki-moon has served the United Nations for more than four years," said Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei in comments reported by official Chinese news agency Xinhua.
"China applauds his work as the secretary general," Hong said.

"Mr Ban has made great contributions in promoting the UN to play a greater role in international affairs," he added. China's UN ambassador Li Baodong said Asian nations backed Ban and that he had strengthened the UN role in promoting "peace and development" during his term.

France, another permanent member of the Security Council, also quickly came out in support of Ban's bid. Ban earlier said China must improve human rights as he defended his record on the issue in announcing his bid for a new term.

He has been criticised by rights groups in the past about his use of "quiet diplomacy" with China and other major nations. But the UN secretary general insisted he has always spoken out on human rights, which he called a "cornerstone" of the UN charter.

"I have been speaking with them (China) constantly about improvement, the necessity of improvement of human rights in China," Ban told a news conference at which he announced he would be standing for a new term. "I will continue to discuss this matter wherever it happens." Ban was particularly criticised after a visit to China in November when he failed to raise the case of jailed Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo in a meeting with China's President Hu Jintao.

Diplomats say that with no rival for the position, the UN Security Council is expected to give its approval and the UN General Assembly will hold a vote before the end of June. Ban's term ends on December 31.

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