Ban Ki Moon (C), former Secretary-General of the United Nations, gives a speech after arriving at the Incheon International Airport in Incheon, South Korea, Jan. 12, 2017. Former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday tried hard to show his people-friendly identity as he returned to his home country, South Korea, following the end of his 10-year tenure in the top UN post. (Xinhua/Lee Sang-ho)
SEOUL, Jan. 12 (Xinhua) -- Former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday tried hard to show his people-friendly identity as he returned to his home country, South Korea, following the end of his 10-year tenure in the top UN post.
Ban arrived at an airport in South Korea's west port city of Incheon in the afternoon, holding a press conference with hundreds of local journalists crowding the airport lobby together with Ban's supporters.
The former South Korean foreign minister has never declared his official run for presidency in his homeland, but he has long been viewed as the most powerful contender of the conservative camp in the next election.
An early presidential election is widely forecast to be held here as President Park Geun-hye was impeached in the National Assembly on Dec. 9 with an overwhelming majority.
A team of people has prepared in Seoul for Ban's possible presidential campaign ahead of his comeback to South Korea.
Ban said in the televised press conference that he will have opportunities to listen to various public opinions from the next day, noting that he will make a "disinterested" decision.
He did not elaborate on what decision he will make, but his comments indicated his official run for presidency in the near future as he noted that it would not take long before he decides.
Ban got on the airport railroad following the press conference to get to the Seoul station. From there, he will be driven by a passenger car to his residence in southern Seoul.
Using the public transport seemed aimed at creating the people-friendly image. Before getting on the subway, he dropped by a convenient store, TV footage showed.
Ban plans to visit the national cemetery on Friday, before going to his native area in North Chungcheong province to meet with his mother and other family members over the weekend.
From next week, Ban will embark on a national tour to take the people-friendly move by communicating with the locals across the country.
During the press conference, Ban made lots of political comments, but he is not expected to decide on whether to throw his hat in the presidential ring until the Lunar New Year's holiday comes in late January.
Ban said he was ready to "burn my own body," strongly indicating his entrance to the political circle despite risks and oppositions. Many of lawmakers in the opposition camp have asked Ban to remain as a respected diplomat rather than entering into politics.
The former UN chief said that South Korea should achieve a grand unity, vowing to devote himself to uniting the divided country into one.
Ban said his country should end various internal divisions, including wealth inequality and conflicts in ideologies, regions and generations, stressing that the grand unity must be achieved.
The former South Korean career diplomat reiterated his pledge to devote himself to his homeland, saying public wish shown in the square must be cherished.
Hundreds of thousands of South Koreans took to the streets every Saturday night since the scandal involving the impeached president emerged in late October. Protesters still demand the first South Korean female leader step down voluntarily.
Touching on security situations, the former UN head said he recognized the importance of security during his 10-year UN secretary-general tenure.
He said it was urgent for South Korea to draw up countermeasures to resolve the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)'s nuclear issue and solidify relations with the countries, including the United States, China, Russia and Japan.