The man South Korea hopes will be the next head of the UN yesterday vowed to push ahead with reforms of the world body, saying a Korean candidate offered broad experience of change and development. In his first interview since announcing his bid on Tuesday to replace UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon told the South China Morning Post he had been consulting China and other leading UN members for several months about his bid. South Korea regarded itself as 'a child of the United Nations' dating back to the Korean war in the 1950s and now wanted to put something back, he said. 'We think we are a model of many member states of the United Nations, one who has been able to realise all the important goals and ideals of the UN charter,' Mr Ban said, stressing a record of peace and stability as well as development, prosperity and human rights and democracy. Mr Ban described UN reforms as the most important agenda item he faced if selected, outlining his own credentials as an agent of change. 'Korea has been carrying out a series of wide and extensive reforms in all areas of our lives ... I have always been at the centre of innovation and reforms,' he said. He would also hope to advance the cause of unification of North Korea. Mr Ban has been at the heart of efforts to restart the six-party talks to defuse Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions. Describing himself as a UN insider and outsider, the veteran diplomat served at South Korea's mission in New York in the late 1980s. He then led the Cabinet of the President of the 56th General Assembly as the country's top envoy at the UN for two years from 2001. He said he was proud the UN stood squarely at the centre of the international fight against terrorism during that challenging time. 'I think I can offer the secretary-generalship experience and know-how.' Mr Annan's second five-year term ends on December 31 amid a growing international sense that the time is right for a leader from Asia - a view backed by China and Japan but not the US, which says regional considerations should not be a factor. The 61-year-old, known for his calm and genial diplomatic style, faces rival bids from Thai Deputy Prime Minister Surakiart Sathirathai and Sri Lankan diplomat Jayanthan Dhanapal. East Timorese Senior Minister for Foreign Affairs Jose Ramos-Horta is also seen as a likely candidate. China's role is seen as vital given the Asia push. Beijing holds veto power over the candidate as one of five permanent members of the security council, along with Russia, France, Britain and the US. Washington - a close ally of South Korea - praised Mr Ban this week but stopped short of backing any candidate, saying it was premature. While Mr Ban acknowledged he had been lobbying China, he could not say he was confident of winning the nod from Beijing.