November 10, 2007

UN Chief Looks at Antarctica Glaciers

CHILEAN PRESIDENTE EDUARDO FREI BASE, Antarctica (AP) - U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visited the Antarctica on Friday to see firsthand the impact of climate change and the melting of glaciers.

Ban flew from Chile's southernmost city of Punta Arenas to that country's station on the Antarctica, Chilean Air Force President Eduardo Frei base, accompanied by officials and scientists.

From there, he took a 45-minute flight over the region, seeing several glaciers.

The U.N. leader also visited the Antarctic bases of Uruguay and South Korea, his home country. At the Korean base he was greeted by a small reception and offered traditional Korean food and drink. He then returned to Punta Arenas.

On Thursday, Ban attended the opening of the Ibero-American summit, a gathering of leaders from Latin American countries, Spain and Portugal, that is being held in Santiago, Chile.

He told summit delegates that global warming will be a central concern of his term as head of the world body.

On Saturday, Ban was scheduled to visit Torres del Paine national park, where experts say the effects of global warming on glaciers are evident.