U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of the Philippines Sung Kim’s address at his Swearing-In Ceremony
U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of the Philippines
AMBASSADOR KIM: Mr. Secretary, it is such a great honor and privilege to stand here with you this morning. I’m deeply grateful to you and President Obama for this amazing opportunity to serve our country. Charge Chuasoto and friends from the Embassy of the Philippines and the greater Filipino American community, mabuhay, and thank you very much for joining us.
AMBASSADOR KIM: Mabuhay. (Laughter.) I need to pronounce that better. Sorry. (Laughter.) A special thanks also to my friends from Korean and Japanese communities for being here, and a warm and grateful welcome to all of my bosses and colleagues from the State Department and beyond, Deputy Secretary Blinken, Counselor Kenney, Assistant Secretary Russel. I’m especially grateful that all of my friends from the East Asian Affairs Bureau have joined us this morning. That has been my home for the past 28 years.
I’m deeply honored to be following so many distinguished diplomats who preceded me in the Philippines, including Ambassadors Negroponte, Armacost, Bosworth, Hubbard, and of course, our brilliant counselor, Ambassador Kenny, and my immediate predecessor and friend, Phil Goldberg.
Most importantly, I want to thank my family. My father passed away long before he could enjoy my work as ambassador, but he is the person most responsible for where I am today. My mother and siblings have always been my strongest supporters, and of course my wife, Jae, and our daughters, Erin and Erica, have always been there for me. They are the best, and I could not thank them enough. (Applause.)
When I first arrived in the United States at age 13, I of course had no idea – frankly, I could not even dare dream that someday I would have the opportunity to represent our country as ambassador. The fact that I stand before you today is a result of generous support and guidance from all of you. It is also reflection of the greatness of this country. I really could not be more proud.
As the Secretary mentioned, I had the privilege of serving as the first Korean American U.S. ambassador to Korea. It was obviously deeply moving and meaningful to return to my country of birth and to one of our strongest allies. And now I’m thrilled to have the honor of representing our country in the Philippines, our oldest ally in Asia and one of our most special friends anywhere. The U.S. and the Philippines are and will continue to be close friends, partners, and allies.
When President Obama visited the Philippines in 2014, he talked about the spirit, the kalooban, that defines the extraordinary warmth, vitality, and strength of our relationship. That spirit is embodied in deep people-to-people ties between our two countries. There are 4 million Filipino Americans in the United States. Generous and committed to family and tradition, Filipino Americans give back to their communities both here in the United States and in the Philippines. And together with the many Americans residing in and visiting the Philippines, they help build bonds that unite and strengthen both our countries.
I have to say as a longtime basketball fan, I’m particularly excited about our two people’s shared love for the most exciting game in sports. This year, as we mark the 70th anniversary of formal U.S.-Philippines relations, we celebrate and reaffirm our common history of shared sacrifice, values, and interests, and of course, an ironclad mutual defense treaty.
For many years, the United States has been among the Philippines’ top trading partners and its larger foreign investor. I very much look forward to continuing our robust economic engagement and to reinforcing the good work USAID and the Millennium Challenge Corporation have done to promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth.
So, ladies and gentlemen, there’s a lot of important work ahead for our two countries. I’m eager to get started. And as I embark on this exciting challenge, I hope I can continue to count on all of your support and encouragement. Thank you, very, very much.
Photos: Courtesy of the U.S. State DepartmentFull Transcript of Secretary Kerry and Ambassador Kim’s remarks at the Swearing-In Ceremony