MALACAÑANG welcomed on Saturday the appointment of Korean-born diplomat Sung Y. Kim as the new United States Ambassador to the Philippines, saying it was a “significant” signal that the US may want better cultural understanding with the Philippines.
“It’s very significant that they chose an Asian,” said Palace Spokesman Ernesto Abella. “I’m sure it’s some form of a signal that they want to be on a better cultural footing.”
“That seems to be right now one of the most obvious, one of the major significant reasons why they chose a Korean. Maybe, what they want is to understand us better, that we’re able to relate on better cultural terms,” Abella said.
Kim was sworn in by US State Secretary John Kerry last Thursday and he will be the first Asian-American to serve as ambassador to Manila.
Like President Rodrigo Duterte, who has repeatedly hit the US for purportedly meddling in Philippine internal affairs, Kim worked as a public prosecutor in Los Angeles which hosts a sizable community of Filipino-Americans.
After joining the foreign service, Kim worked at the US embassies in Seoul, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong. In 2008, he was appointed special envoy for the Six-Party Talks on North Korea’s controversial nuclear prPresident Barack Obama nominated Kim to replace outgoing US Ambassador Philip Goldberg on May 19, 2016. He was confirmed by the US Senate on September 28 and was sworn in by Kerry last Thursday.