Seongnam Mayor Throws Major Shade at Ban Ki-moon, Says UN Chief Won't Stay Popular
SEOUL, Dec. 27 (Yonhap) -- Seongnam Mayor Lee Jae-myung, who recently gained fame as a potential presidential contender, said Tuesday that U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is unlikely to lead in opinion polls, claiming he pursued personal gain at his post.
"There are some cases in which Ban took advantage of his public post for personal gain," Lee said during a press meeting, claiming such allegations could lead to questions about his capabilities.
Lee, along with other contenders from the opposition bloc, has been keeping a watchful eye on the emergence of Ban, who could potentially run with the conservative bloc in next year's presidential race.
Ban was slightly ahead of other candidates last week in the latest poll conducted by Real Meter. Ban garnered an approval rating of 23.3 percent, up 2.8 percentage points from a week earlier. He was virtually neck-and-neck with Moon Jae-in, former head of the Democratic Party, who earned 23.1 percent, down 0.6 percentage point.'
Lee, a member of the main opposition, came in at the third with 12.3 percent, down 2.6 percentage points, followed by Rep. Ahn Cheol-soo, former head of the People's Party, whose approval rating reached 8.2 percent.
"People have high expectations for Ban because he is new," Lee said. "But the people also want achievements and content, instead of just fancy past experiences. He will be subject to questions about what he did as the U.N. head over the past 10 years."
The mayor said he plans to bring more justice to South Korea, claiming only a small number of privileged people rake in unlawful benefits.
"It is urgent to secure justice in the realm of politics," Lee said, adding he will fight against corruption and behind-the-scenes ties between the government and conglomerates.
Lee said he also plans to increase taxes on conglomerates or those in the high-income bracket to expand welfare services.
On North Korean human rights, the potential contender said although South Korea should make efforts to induce Pyongyang to open its doors, Seoul should not interfere in the North's domestic affairs.
Concerning the deployment of an advanced U.S. missile defense system in the country, which received a strong backlash from the opposition bloc, Lee said the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense battery damages Seoul's ties with Beijing, adding scrapping the plan is in the country's best interests.
"Sanctions and pressures cannot stop North Korea's nukes," Lee claimed.