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Korean American Tapped As Next U.S. Ambassador to South Korea

Sung Kim is expected to succeed Kathleen Stephens as the next American ambassador to South Korea, according to the Korea Times.

Kim, 51, is currently the the U.S. special envoy to the six-party talks aimed at addressing North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.

The Korea Times reported that if confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Kim will be the first U.S. ambassador to Korea with a Korean background.

A prosecutor-turned-diplomat, Kim has been working as a special envoy to the six-party talks aimed at dismantling North Korea’s nuclear program since July 2008. One month prior to that, he, then the head of the Korean office at the State Department, flew to Yongbyon in North Korea to see the demolition of a cooling tower at its main nuclear site. He has visited the North more than 10 times in official capacities.

Ambassador Kim, whose official bio can be seen here, previously served as chief of political-military affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul in 2003 and also previously worked in Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong.

Kim and his family emigrated to the United States in the 1970s, after his father left public service, according to the Korea Times.

Kim graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and Loyola Law School and also holds a master’s degree from the London School of Economics, according to his State Department bio.

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