WASHINGTON (Yonhap News) ― The U.S. Senate on Thursday confirmed Sung Kim, a career diplomat, as the new U.S. ambassador to South Korea, more than four months after his nomination, officials here said.
The unanimous approval came as South Korea’s President Lee Myung-bak is on a state visit here. The U.S. Congress passed a bilateral free trade pact on Wednesday.
“The Senate unanimously approved his nomination. He is expected to soon take up the post,” a Korean embassy official said.
Kim will be the first Korean-born American ambassador to Seoul since the two sides forged diplomatic relations 129 years ago.
Kim, an expert in Korean affairs especially the North Korean nuclear issue, had a confirmation hearing on July 21, and was confirmed by the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations a week later.
But Jon Kyl (R-Arizona), assistant minority leader in the Senate, had been blocking the confirmation process for more than a month, apparently due to his displeasure with the Obama administration’s policy on North Korea and other foreign affairs, according to the sources.