WATCH: New U.S. envoy to Philippines takes oath

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 04 2016 12:13 AM | Updated as of Nov 04 2016 02:55 PM

 

(UPDATED) US Secretary of State John Kerry swore in US Ambassador-designate to the Philippines Sung Kim, at the Department of State, in Washington, DC, on Thursday.

The U.S. Senate earlier approved President Barack Obama's nomination of Kim as the country's ambassador to Manila, at a time when Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is showing an increasingly hostile stance toward the United States.

Kim is replacing Philip Goldberg, whose tour of duty in Manila ended this year.

Before the oath-taking, Kerry emphasized the special relationship of the United States and the Philippines, which started during the World War II.

"Seventy-five years ago, next month, only 10 hours after the air raid in Pearl Harbor, the Philippine islands were invaded and soon occupied. And what followed over the next three and a half years was an immense human tragedy," Kerry said. "But also of a story of remarkable courage and the forging of an indelible alliance between the American and Filipino peoples."

"The liberation of the Philippines was the bloodiest campaign of the entire Pacific war. And it was won through the heroism of Filipino and American warriors alike," Kerry added.

Kerry said he is confident about the future of the bilateral relationship of the United States and the Philippines.

"I am confident about the future of our bilateral relationship, notwithstanding the difference here or there, about one thing or another, and I'm absolutely confident about the ties between our peoples and our affinity for our values and our hopes," he said.

For his part, Kim said he wants to continue the "robust economic engagement" between the U.S. and the Philippines, adding that the United States is among the country's top trading partners and largest investor.

A self-confessed basketball fan, Kim said he is looking forward to sharing the Filipinos' love of the game.

According to the White House, Kim earlier served as a career member of the Foreign Service, class of Minister-Counselor, 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, who was born in Seoul, South Korea, served as U.S. 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.

Kim also served as Political-Military Chief at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, Korea from 2002 to 2006.

Kim has also held positions at posts in Hong Kong, Japan, and Malaysia.

Prior to joining the Foreign Service, Kim was a Deputy District Attorney in the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

The U.S. State Department's website said Kim was born in Seoul, 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. He also holds a Master of Laws degree from the London School of Economics.