Malacanang has welcomed the appointment of Sung Y. Kim as the new US Ambassador to the Philippines.
Kim, who was sworn in by US Secretary of State John Kerry in Washington D.C. on Thursday, will replace Philip Goldberg.
Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said it is “very significant” that Kim, who was born in Korea, was chosen for the post.
“I’m sure it’s some form of a signal that they want to be on a better cultural footing and understanding between Asians. That seems to be right now one of the most obvious, one of the major significant reasons why they chose a Korean also. So ang gusto po siguro nilang mas maintindihan tayo (Maybe they want to better understand us,” Abella said in a radio interview on Saturday.
“Ang mahalaga lang po is that ‘yung mga terms of engagement natin with one another, ‘yung mas maging culturally sensitive (What is important is that our terms of engagement will be culturally sensitive),” he added.
According to his profile on the US Department of State website, Kim was the Special Representative for North Korea Policy before he was assigned to Manila.
He concurrently served as Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of East Asia and Pacific Affairs at the US Department of State since 2014.
Kim, who speaks English, Korean, and Japanese, studied at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and the Loyola University Law School in Los Angeles. CATHERINE S. VALENTE