UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is set to arrive in South Korea for a six-day visit amid speculation over whether he would be a potential presidential contender. Though there has been no formal development on Ban's entry into domestic politics once his tenure at the UN gets over, Seoul's political circles are already full of rumours.
He is scheduled to hold talks with several global entities and is also set to take part in a UN NGO conference. Ban, who constantly evaded any questions over his domestic political ambitions, is not expected to hold talks with any of the political parties during this tour.
The 71-year-old former foreign minister would end his UN term by the end of 2016 — a year before South Korean presidential elections. The country's Saenuri Party is keen to get Ban on board as the organisation does not have any prospective presidential candidate as yet.
"Ban has considerable political ambitions, and if the pro-Park Geun-hye faction in the ruling Saenuri Party rallies around him, he could run for president," Park Jie-won, a senior member of opposition People's Party and a three-term lawmaker, told the SBS radio prior to Ban's visit.
However, there has been strong opposition to Ban's name thrown in at the presidential race, arguing he has an undue advantage of being at the top UN post.
"UN secretary-generals have access to confidential information around the globe. If they become officials of a single government, they could abuse the information," Seoul's Mayor Park Won-soon said in an interview with the YTN radio.
Political observers in South Korea have been constantly watching for any signs whether Ban will make any move towards taking a plunge into South Korean politics, especially during the latest trip.