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Korea steps up diplomatic efforts to win UN Security Council seat

May 28, 2023 - 11:00 By Yonhap

Swiss Federal President Alain Berset (center) chairs a Security Council Open Debate on the security and dignity of civilians in conflict at the UN headquarters in New York on May 23. (EPA-Yonhap)

NEW YORK -- South Korea is intensifying last-minute diplomatic efforts for Seoul's bid for a nonpermanent seat on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), with just 10 days to go before the vote.

South Korea, which last sat on the council in 2013-2014, aims to return to the council for 2024-2025, and the UN will vote on the bid on June 6.

If elected, it will mark the third time for South Korea to serve as one of the 10 nonpermanent UNSC members. Previously, South Korea had served the seat during the 1996-1997 term.

South Korea hopes to return to the council as it seeks to expand its roles in UN activities for international peace and security. It would also help reduce tensions on the Korean Peninsula, officials said.

North Korea, which has shown little signs of returning to dialogue, has ramped up developments of its nuclear and missile programs. In late March, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un ordered the expansion of the production of weapons-grade nuclear materials for an exponential increase in its arsenal.

South Korea's Ambassador to the UN Hwang Joon-kook told Yonhap News Agency in an interview that Seoul would "gain a foothold" to play a leading role in global affairs if it wins a seat on the council.

"The Security Council is the most representative organization responsible for realizing a global central state, a global contributor state and a global responsible state," Hwang said.

If South Korea returns to the council, it "will serve as an opportunity to expand our diplomatic horizons," Hwang said.

Hwang said South Korea is likely to win a seat on the council because it is the only candidate nation in Asia.

The current nonpermanent members include: Albania, Brazil, Gabon, Ghana and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) -- the five countries that were newly elected last week -- and India, Ireland, Kenya, Mexico and Norway.

The council replaces half of its nonpermanent members for every two-year term.

To win a nonpermanent seat, a country needs to secure at least two-thirds of the votes from the countries attending the general assembly, out of the 193 member states. (Yonhap)