Ambassador to South Korea: Who is Sung Kim?
Sunday, November 13, 2011
Sung Y. Kim was nominated to be the United States’ next ambassador to South Korea in June, 2011, and received his Senate confirmation in October. He was sworn in on November 3 and arrived in Seoul a week later. He is the first American of Korean descent to serve as U.S. ambassador to South Korea.
Kim’s father, Kim Ki-wan (a.k.a. Kim Jae-kwon) was a member of the Korean CIA and was implicated in the 1973 kidnapping of dissident (and future president) Kim Dae-jung.
Born in 1960, Kim was 13 years old when his father, following the kidnapping, moved his family to Los Angeles. Kim received his U.S. citizenship in 1980.
He earned his BA from the University of Pennsylvania and received a JD from Loyola University Law School as well as an LLM from the London School of Economics.
Prior to joining the Foreign Service, Kim worked as a prosecutor in the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office.
His early assignments included postings to Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong. In Washington, Kim worked in the Office of Chinese Affairs and served as staff assistant in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs.
From 1999 to 2002, he served as a political officer in Tokyo.
Kim was the political-military unit chief at the U.S. embassy in Seoul from 2002 to 2006.
He then headed the Office of Korean Affairs from 2006 to 2008.
In July 2008, Kim became the special envoy for North Korean affairs and chief representative to the Six-Party Talks regarding North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. For this position he was accorded the rank of ambassador following confirmation by the Senate.
Kim and his wife, Jae, have two daughters.
-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky
Sung Y. Kim Nominated as Ambassador to S. Korea (Asian American Press)
U.S. Nuclear Envoy Tipped as Ambassador to Seoul (The Chosunilbo)
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