Jan 15, 2016, 11:20 PM
News Code: 81921671
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Ban's presidential bid rumors resurface: Report

Tehran, Jan 15, IRNA - Speculation over UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's presidential bid in his home country resurfaced after he was found to have sent a letter congratulating the country's former prime minister, a political heavyweight, on his birthday, Yonhap News Agency reported.

Ban reportedly sent the letter to congratulate the 90th birthday of Kim Jong-pil on Monday, which marks the first time that he sent a congratulatory letter to Kim while serving as the secretary-general.

'Some political pundits say the act possibly has political undertones for Ban, who has been voted as one of the most popular possible presidential contenders, though he has disavowed rumors that he has an interest in running in the 2017 presidential election.'

'I believe that the lifetime achievements by you for the development and stability of the Republic of Korea (South Korea) will be forever recorded in the future,' the former South Korean foreign minister was quoted saying in the letter.

Ban's second five-year term as the UN secretary general will terminate at the end of 2016, a year before South Koreans go to the polls to elect a new president who will replace President Park Geun-hye.

In May 2015, Ban's now-scrapped visit to the inter-Korean industrial complex in North Korea's border city of Kaesong also sparked speculation in the country that it could be the beginning of a political campaign ahead of the election, according to Yonhap.

The agency referred to the latest poll in January which showed that Ban received 21.9 percent of public support, followed by Moon and Kim Moo-sung, chairman of the ruling Saenuri Party, with 13.4 and 10.5 percent, respectively.