Former UN Chief Ban Not Running for South Korea President
Former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Wednesday he will not run for president of South Korea.
Ban had generated interest as a top candidate to succeed Park Geun-hye, who was impeached in December over a corruption scandal, but his support in opinion polls has been falling.
He told reporters Wednesday he was disappointed by the country's political establishment. "I have decided to give up the pure intention of trying to lead political change and accomplish national reconciliation," he said.
Ban served for two years as South Korea's foreign minister before leading the U.N. for a decade.
A court is considering Park's impeachment, and if it upholds the decision, then a presidential election for her replacement would come two months later.
US Senate Approves Chao to Lead Transportation Department
Elaine Chao, a former top U.S. labor official, was sworn in on Tuesday to lead the U.S. Transportation Department, which overseas aviation, vehicle, train and pipeline safety. Chao, a former U.S. labor secretary and deputy transportation secretary, took office hours after the U.S. Senate voted 93 to 6 to confirm her.
She will be a key player in President Donald Trump's Cabinet if his administration pushes ahead with a major infrastructure spending program.
The Transportation Department has a $75 billion annual budget and about 60,000 employees. It includes the Federal Aviation Administration, which handles air traffic control.
Chao is the wife of Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the first Asian-American woman to hold a Cabinet position.
At her confirmation hearing this month, Chao declined to take positions on a number of issues, including whether air traffic control jobs should be privatized, concerns over the safety of shipments of crude oil by rail, foreign airlines' push to move into the U.S. market and regulation of developing technologies.