UN chief Ban Ki-moon 'jealous' of Gangnam Style's PSY

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon jokes that he's jealous of South Korean rapper PSY, after the pair meet for the first time in New York.

Once the most famous South Korean, Ban relinquishes title to artist at UN

UN chief's Gangnam Style

11 years ago
Duration 8:57
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon jokes with South Korean rapper PSY about the musician's fame overshadowing his own

It was bound to happen. Two powerhouses of South Korea met Tuesday in New York for the first time.

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and rapper PSY lavished praise on one another during a photo opportunity at UN headquarters.

'I'm a bit jealous. Until two days ago someone told me I am the most famous Korean in the world.'—UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon

The South Korean pop singer, whose smash video for his song Gangnam Style has gone viral, was quick to joke with reporters about the encounter. 

"So now you have first and second famous Korean in the same building," PSY said. 

Ban joked that he now feels overshadowed by the star, whose video has scored more than half a billion views on YouTube. 

The UN chief even risked a few of PSY's trademark dance moves from the video, prompting peals of laughter from the singer. 

PSY told reporters he was touched that Ban had watched his video. He called the meeting a momentous occasion for him — even better than when Gangnam Style hit No. 2 on the Billboard Top 100 chart. 

South Korean rapper PSY doubles over with laughter as UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, an admirer and fellow South Korean, attempts to learn the Gangnam Style dance. (Sara Brittany Somerset/CBC)

The UN chief said the Korean pop star was "cool" and "energetic."

"He's so energetic he can help to end energy crisis," he said. 

Ban's office said the encounter was arranged because the two men were mutually interested in meeting one another. 

His spokesman, Martin Nesirky, told reporters that although the secretary general usually deals with weighty issues involving conflicts and wars, he also thinks it's important to engage other parts of society.

Ban joked that he was envious of the South Korean rapper.

"I'm a bit jealous. 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," Ban said.


Melissa Kent


Melissa Kent is a producer with CBC News covering the United Nations from its headquarters in New York City. @KentUNCBC

With files from The Associated Press