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Facebook photos reveal alleged Vietnamese ancestry of UN chief

Saturday, October 31, 2015, 19:43 GMT+7

Several photos surfaced on Facebook this week purportedly show that United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has Vietnamese ancestry. The South Korean U.N. chief allegedly paid a visit to a house of worship in an outlying area in Hanoi, where members of the Phan Huy family cherish their ancestors, according to the Facebook photos. The visit was made on May 23, according to captions under the pictures. Ban was accompanied by his wife, Ban Soon-Taek, with photos showing they bow in front of an altar that worhships the ancestors of the Phan Huy, a family whose many members were famous intellectuals and scholars back in the 18th century. There are also a photo of the U.N. chief writing into a guest book, and one that shows what is believed to be his handwriting. Ban purportedly wrote that he is humble to pay respects to the Phan Huy worship house, according to the photo. The 71-year-old also thanked Phan Huy family members for preserving the house of worship and said he, “as one of the [Phan Huy] family,” is committed to following the teaching of the ancestors. A Phan Huy family member, Phan Huy Thanh, confirmed to Nguoi Lao Dong (Labor) newspaper on Saturday Ban Ki-moon did visit the house of worship on May 23. “Ban Ki-moon greeted people as he arrived, then walked straight into the Phan Huy worship house to pay tribute,” Thanh told Nguoi Lao Dong. The U.N. chief then wrote the guest book and pose for a group photograph with other Phan Huy family members, Thanh said. “He left with the accompanied officials at around 4:45 pm on a car.” Thanh said an intepreter had informed the caretakers of the house of worship of a visit by a U.N. delegation on May 10. On May 21, a security group came to discuss protection plans for Ban with the caretakers, he added. “Ban was very friendly,” Thanh said. “He hugged two small children when he came, and shook hands and said thank you to every one he met.” A local media person of the United Nations Development Program in Vietnam also confirmed the visit to Nguoi Lao Dong on Saturday, saying Ban made the visit “personally.” The U.N. chief had a 36-hour trip staring on May 22 in Vietnam, during which he discussed with local leaders many important issues, including peace, world security and human rights.

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