United States President Joe Biden has appointed former Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim as acting Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, a senior position in the US State Department.
This was confirmed on Sunday after Kim met with Philippine Ambassador to the Washington Jose Manuel Romualdez on January 23, three days after his appointment by the US President last January 20.
“The two officials had developed a good working relationship and had become close friends when Acting A/S Kim was US Ambassador to the Philippines,” the Philippine Embassy said in a statement.
Kim took over the position vacated by Assistant Secretary of State David Stilwell, who was appointed by former President Donald Trump. It was not reported if Kim will be formally nominated by the Biden administration for confirmation.
Kim, the first Asian-American envoy appointed by Washington to the Philippines, served as US envoy from 2016 to 2020.
Kim was responsible for improving diplomatic ties between the US and its long-time Asian ally despite President Rodrigo Duterte’s anti-American tirades after Washington strongly criticized his bloody crackdown on illegal drugs, which resulted in the deaths of thousands of drug suspects.
After a four-year stint in the Philippines, Kim was posted as US ambassador to Indonesia in 2020.
According to Kim, the diplomatic relations between US and Philippines have always been “most enduring” and “special.”
Before joining the Foreign Service, he was a Deputy District Attorney.
Kim was born in 1960 in Seoul, South Korea, and grew up in Los Angeles where he attended middle school and high school. He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania and completed a degree in law from Loyola University.
Kim also holds a Master of Laws degree from the London School of Economics.
The US diplomat served as Special Representative for North Korea Policy and Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of East Asia and Pacific Affairs at the Department of State.
Kim also served as US Ambassador to the Republic of Korea from 2011 to 2014, Special Envoy for the Six Party Talks with the rank of Ambassador from 2008 to 2011, and Director of the Office of Korean Affairs in the Bureau of East Asia and Pacific Affairs from 2006 to 2008.