New US envoy sees expansion of US-PH ties, 06 Dec. 2016

Newly designated United States (US) Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim said he expects an expansion of bilateral relations between the US and the Philippines as he assumes his post.

“Over the weeks, months and years ahead, I look forward to working closely with the Philippines’ government and Filipino people to expand our relationship and to engage in many areas of mutual interest,” Kim told reporters at a press briefing in Malacañan after presenting his credentials to President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday, December 6.

Describing his first encounter with President Duterte, Kim said he had a “lengthy and substantive” discussion with the Filipino leader.

“I am very pleased to have presented my credentials to President Duterte just now… And I am grateful for the time that President Duterte afforded me today,” he said.

“It is an incredible honor for me to be in the Philippines to have this opportunity to contribute to one of America’s most enduring partnerships,” he added.

In addition to the close friendship and strong alliance between the US and the Philippines, Kim said the two countries have strong economic ties that are long-standing and extensive and these open up a great potential in growing their two-way economic partnership.

“At the heart of that partnership is the deep bond between the peoples of our two countries. There is indeed tremendous ‘kalooban’, the extraordinary spirit, warmth and strength in our relationship,” he further said.

Kim said he is confident that mutual respect combined with close ties and shared history and values of the two countries will ensure stability in relationship over the long term.

He, meanwhile, expressed eagerness to get to know the Filipino people and to visit tourist destinations in the country such as Batanes and Tawi-Tawi.

Kim is familiar with Asia, having served as a career member of the senior Foreign Service, class of Minister-Counselor, a special representative for North Korea policy, and Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of East Asia and Pacific Affairs at the US Department of State.

He also served as US Ambassador to Korea, political officer at the US Embassy in Tokyo, Japan; political officer in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, vice-consul of US Consulate in Hong Kong, among others.

The US envoy earned a doctorate in law from Loyola University Law School in Los Angeles and a Masters of Law from the London School of Economics.

Born in Korea in 1960, Kim moved to the US when he was 13 years old and became an American citizen in 1980.

Aside from Kim, other ambassadors who presented their credentials to the President were Dato Raszlan Abdul Rashid of Malaysia, Harald Fries of Sweden, Dr. Jozsef Bence of Hungary, John Holmes of Canada, Musaed Saleh Althwaikh of Kuwait, Gordon Kricke of Germany, Hamad Saeed Hamad Obaid Alzaabi of UAE and Johariah Wahab of Brunei.###PND