Former UN chief Ban Ki-moon (C) is welcomed at the Incheon International Airport in Incheon, South Korea, Jan. 12, 2017. (Xinhua/Lee Sang-ho)
SEOUL, Jan. 12 (Xinhua) -- Former UN chief Ban Ki-moon said in a televised press conference Thursday that South Korea should achieve a grand unity, vowing to devote himself to uniting the divided country into one.
Ban arrived in his home country after ending his second, five-year term in the top UN post late last year.
He has been long viewed as the most powerful contender of the conservative bloc in the next presidential race as President Park Geun-hye was impeached a month earlier and her Saenuri Party saw a drop in public support.
Local media outlets have speculated that Ban actually unveiled his willingness to run for president though he has never officially declared his candidacy.
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 established and the hegemony, he said, must not exist any longer, holding all of the leadership responsible for the current turmoil facing South Korea.
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.
Former UN chief Ban Ki-moon (3rd L, front) speaks at the Incheon International Airport in Incheon, South Korea, Jan. 12, 2017. (Xinhua/Yao Qilin)
Hundreds of thousands of South Koreans took to the streets every Saturday night since the scandal involving the impeached president emerged in late October last year. Protesters demanded the first South Korean female leader step down voluntarily.
The influence-peddling scandal led to the impeachment of Park, which was approved on Dec. 9 by the National Assembly with an overwhelming majority.
Ban said political alteration rather than the transfer of power must be achieved, noting that his political decision will not take long. His comments indicated his official declaration for his run for presidency in the near future.
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 countries including the United States, China, Russia and Japan.