Chinese teachings give me inner strength: UN chief



Beijing: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says inner strength is more important than physical strength and he gets his strength by following the classical teachings of Chinese greats like Confucius.

"I've been living in Korea studying the Chinese classics - Kong Zi (Confucius), Lao Zi, Meng Zi (Mencius), and Sun Zi ... All these classical wisdoms are very important to nourish your inner strength," the 67-year-old Ban told Xinhua.

"I have learned many classic teachings of Confucius and Lao Zi; that's why I quoted a sentence from Lao Zi in my acceptance speech (after his re-election as secretary-general)," the former South Korean foreign minister said.

Addressing the General Assembly after being elected for a second term, Ban quoted from Lao Zi, the sixth century B.C. Chinese philosopher: "The way of heaven is to benefit others and not to injure. The way of the sage is to act but not compete."

"This is what I've been trying to practise by example. This is what I've been trying to keep in my mind as a public servant during the last longer than 40 years. It has given me some guidance ... a source of (inner) strength," Ban said.

He cited the UN as an example. In order to harmonise all positions in a huge organisation where 192 member states come with different backgrounds, one should be extremely patient and have respect for others rather than imposing one's own ideas.

Rather than compete, Ban called for united action and harmonious cooperation.

"There are many high walls between the departments and agencies. Tearing down these walls is not to compete," he said.

"If you compete, you'll be divided into many small pieces. But when you're united, you can have very strong power. That is my belief and philosophy."

As the world's top diplomat, Ban has an onerous responsibility that demands round-the-clock commitment by him and his team.

He was called a "tireless champion" by Jeffery Sachs, a well-known economist at Columbia University.

He was considered as someone "who is committed to seeing the job through and will work tirelessly to get it done right" by Ted Turner, UN Foundation founder.

When asked about his panacea for working round the clock, the veteran diplomat burst into laughter.

"There's no such a panacea. I do not do any physical exercise. I've not been able to enjoy any sport."

"I think the most important thing is how to concentrate your energy and your mind, your heart and spirit," Ban said.

"I am very disciplined in my daily life. I try to use my time to the maximum extent possible and whenever time is given, I concentrate and focus ... and that really gives me much strength," he said.

IANS