Congratulatory Remarks at the General Assembly Meeting to Appoint the New Secretary-General by H.E. Mr. Kenzo Oshima, Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations

(3:00- , Friday, 13 October 2006, General Assembly Hall)

Madam President,

On behalf of the States members of the Asian Group, it is my great pleasure and honor to most warmly welcome the appointment of Mr. Ban Ki-moon of the Republic of Korea as the next Secretary-General and extend our most sincere and heartfelt congratulations to him on this appointment.

The Asian Member States have aspired from early on in the selection process that one of our sons or daughters from the region would be given the opportunity to serve at the helm of our Organization, thirty-five years after the third Secretary-General, U Thant. This aspiration has today been realized, through a unanimous decision in the General Assembly following a recommendation unanimously arrived at in the Security Council.

And for this, the Asian Member States wish to express their gratitude to the States members of all regional groups, for the understanding and support they have shown for this aspiration and the candidature of Mr. Ban Ki-moon.

In this connection, the member States of the Asian Group wish to extend special thanks to the African Group and the Group of Latin American and Caribbean States for officially expressing, early in the process, their strong and unflagging support for the election of an Asian candidate as the next Secretary-General. Likewise, we are grateful to the NAM (Non-Aligned Movement) countries for their consolidated support for Asia's position in this regard.

Madam President,

The Asian countries are confident that the Secretary-General-designate Mr. Ban will contribute substantially to the further enhancement of the role and prestige of our Organization, to reforms of the Organization and strengthening of the United Nations system, to maintaining international peace and security, to promoting economic and social development and growth, and to protecting and enhancing human rights.

Mr. Ban is a seasoned diplomat, with long, rich, extensive experience in the public service of his home country, the Republic of Korea, including as Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and at the United Nations. His personal qualities, combined with his diplomatic skills and a proven record of accomplishment in management and administration, all of which he now brings to the service of the United Nations, show that all Member States will be in good hands with him as the chief administrator of our Organization, as it struggles to address new tasks and challenges.

The Asian region is proud of its many remarkable developments and achievements - in reducing poverty, attaining economic growth, providing more education to children, promoting democratic values and institutions, and so forth - although, admittedly there are still many challenges. The country that Mr. Ban hails from is a remarkable example of this phenomenal growth and change witnessed in Asia. The Asian Member States can say with pride that it is most appropriate that such a country is sending one of its most outstanding public servants to steer the course of the United Nations at the beginning of the 21st Century.

Madam President,

Looking back over the selection process, several talented, able and distinguished candidates besides Mr. Ban were presented from the Asian region. We should remember that the unanimous action to appoint Mr. Ban, both in the Security Council and the General Assembly, was in the end made possible by the considerate cooperation of those other candidates. I would like to take the opportunity to thank them all as well as the Member States which had presented their candidatures, in this regard.

Madam President,

In concluding, once again most warmly welcoming the Secretary-General designate, Mr. Ban, and wishing him every success in fulfilling his highly demanding mission at this crucial juncture in international relations as a whole, including in our part of the world, Northeast Asia. As Mr. Ban addresses these global challenges, and in the work of the United Nations in particular, the member States of the Asian Group pledge their firm support to him in the discharge of his formidable and weighty responsibilities in the months and years ahead.

Finally, I am sure there will be another opportunity to formally express our deep appreciation to Secretary-General Kofi Annan. But allow me on this occasion, on behalf of the Asian Group, to renew our respect to Secretary-General Kofi Annan and reconfirm our commitment to continued cooperation with him as he perseveres in tackling the mountain of issues that remain to be addressed, until his final day in office.

Thank you.

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