Ex-UN chief Ban Ki-moon calls on America to show global leadership

Published by CNBC.COM

Summary generated on August 10, 2020

    Former U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told CNBC Tuesday that he is "Deeply, deeply concerned" about the state of global politics and described current global leaders' focus on "Short-term political gains" as shameful.

    Ban, who led the U.N. from 2007-2016, said there had been "Growing disunity" in the multilateral system since America's withdrawal from many U.N.-led agreements and agencies, as well as nuclear treaties such as the JCPOA on the Iranian nuclear issue.

    "I'm really urging the United States to really show their global leadership based on global vision as they did when they were leading this establishment, founding the United Nations 75 years ago," he added.

    Ban, who was the eighth U.N. secretary-general, described the U.S's withdrawal from the World Health Organization earlier this year at the height of the Covid-19 global response as "Morally wrong" and "Politically very short-sighted."

    A spokesperson for the White House wasn't immediately available when contacted by CNBC. Speaking about the international response to the Covid-19 crisis from his home base of South Korea, Ban said the country had been a relative success story with its handling of the pandemic, with around 14,500 cases and 302 deaths.

    Ban said adopted policies such as the "Three Ts Plus P" - "Testing, tracing, treatment and participation" - had helped the population and government work closely together against the virus.

    Asked why he thinks the rest of the world had not followed South Korea's response, Ban told CNBC that global leadership had been "Sorely lacking at the top level."

    Ban, who was secretary-general during the 2014 outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa, said he had then secured a U.N. Security Council resolution "Within one day," declaring the outbreak as "a serious threat to the maintenance of international peace and security."

    "After six months of this outbreak, the United States and China have been playing a blaming game, all this politicization of these virus issues, they have not been able to take any single resolution at the Security Council. This is a shame, they are neglecting the global responsibility as permanent members of the Security Council." he added.

    Ban acknowledged that the U.N. "Is not a perfect organization." But he said it has set out many visions and many promises, adding that implementing these promises to the world "Depends upon how global leaders show their leadership."