The UN secretary general has to perform a variety of deft diplomatic manoeuvres in his day-to-day life, but none quite like the invisible horse trot. Ban Ki-Moon had a chance to smooth out any flaws in his K-Pop repertoire on Tuesday when he was visited at the United Nations by Psy, the rapper behind the global hit Gangnam Style.
"I'm a bit jealous," Ban told reporters, as the pair joked about their shared nationality. "Until two days ago someone told me I am the most famous Korean in the world. Now I have to relinquish. I have no regrets." Psy, whose song mocks the lifestyles of the wealthy residents of the Seoul neighbourhood of Gangnam, added: "So now you have first and second famous Korean in the same building."
The pair posed for the cameras with their hands in the now-familiar horseriding gesture made famous by the hit, which became the first South Korean song in history to go to No 1 in the UK pop charts. Ban even performed a few seconds of the riding motion alongside the 34-year-old singer before appearing to think the better of it.
"I know that you are here to see me dance but don't worry – I cannot even imitate your movement," he said.
The secretary general was keen, though, to lavish praise on Psy, whose real name is Park Jae-sang. "We have tough negotiations in the United Nations. In such a case I was also thinking of playing Gangnam Style-dance so that everybody would stop and dance. Maybe you can bring UN style?" he said.
Viewed more than 530-million times on YouTube since it was released in mid-July, Gangnam Style has done its bit to unite nations around the world. Among the many tributes it has spawned are illegal flash mobs in Indonesia, mass prisoner workouts in the Philippines, and a coordinated cheerleading and marching band routine in Oregon.
"I think the music can play a very important role. I hope that we can work together using your global reach … You have, I think, unlimited global reach," he told Psy.
According to Reuters, he added: "You are so cool; I hope that you can end the global warming."
Earlier on, Ban met Felix Baumgartner, who last week became the first supersonic skydiver after jumping 24 miles from a balloon. Ban hailed the Austrian as "the most courageous person in the world". – Guardian News and Media 2012