President Barack Obama has nominated Sung Y. Kim, a Korean-American career diplomat, as the United States’ next ambassador to the Philippines. Kim will be the first Asian-American to hold the post. He will succeed Philip Goldberg, who assumed the position in 2013.
In a statement to the press, the White House stressed Kim’s long experience in Asian affairs. Since joining the Foreign Service in 1988, Mr. Kim has held positions at diplomatic posts in Hong Kong, Japan, and Malaysia. He served as the Political-Military Chief of the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, Korea from 2002 to 2006. He was appointed Director of the Office of Korean Affairs of the US State Department’s Bureau of East Asia and Pacific Affairs from 2006 to 2008.
He was a Special Envoy for the Six Party Talks with the rank of Ambassador from 2008 to 2011 before being appointed Ambassador to South Korea from 2011 to 2014 . He is currently a Special Representative for North Korea Policy and Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of East Asia and Pacific Affairs at the State Department.
“Prior to joining the Foreign Service, Mr. Kim was a Deputy District Attorney in the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. Mr. Kim received a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, a J.D. from Loyola Law School, and an LL.M. from the London School of Economics and Political Science,” the White House statement further noted.
It is not clear if and when Kim will get his confirmation given that the next US presidential elections is less than six months away and with the Republicans controlling the Senate. The Korean-American diplomat’s appointment comes just six weeks before President-elect Rodrigo Duterte begins his term of office.