MANILA - New U.S. Ambassador-designate to the Philippines Sung Kim said Thursday evening that he is looking forward to playing a key role in sustaining the United States' relationship with the Philippines.
In his arrival speech at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Kim said that he had long been wanted to be posted in Manila, citing America's "most important" and "most special" relationship with the Asian nation.
"I have, for a long time, many years have wanted to serve in Manila. So, I am really just thrilled to be finally here and be able to contribute to one of most important, most special partnership anywhere," Kim said.
He emphasized the many important dimensions of Philippine-U.S. relations, which, at the very least, had been strained by President Rodrigo Duterte's increasingly hostile stance toward Washington.
"It is really one of America's most enduring partnerships. There are many important dimensions on that relationship. For me, the most meaningful, the most fundamental is the deep bond and the extra ordinary warmth between the peoples of the two countries. I think there is a great deal of respect, affection and admiration between Americans and the Filipinos," Kim said.
According to Kim, the special relations between the U.S. and the Philippines is evident in the "four million Filipino-Americans who are residing in the United States and 250,000 Americans living and working in the Philippines."
Kim replaced Philip Goldberg, whose tour of duty in Manila ended this year.
Kim said he is looking forward to working with the Philippine government " to strengthen this very important partnership between our two countries."
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.