Sung Yong Kim is an American diplomat of Korean descent serving as the United States Special Representative for North Korea Policy since 2021, and previously from 2014 to 2016. He has also served as the acting Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs from January to June 2021.
In 2008, Kim was appointed by President George W. Bush as the U.S. Special Envoy for the Six-Party Talks. He later served in the Obama and Trump administrations as the Ambassador to South Korea from 2011 to 2014 and as the Ambassador to the Philippines from 2016 to 2020. In 2020, Kim was appointed by President Donald Trump as Ambassador to Indonesia.
Early life and education
Sung Kim was born in Seoul, South Korea, in 1960 to a South Korean diplomat and moved to the United States in 1973 following his father's posting in Tokyo. Kim grew up in Los Angeles and is a graduate of University of Pennsylvania (BA, 1982), Loyola Law School of the Loyola Marymount University (JD, 1985), and the London School of Economics (LL.M). He also holds an honorary degree from the Catholic University of Korea.
Before joining the United States Foreign Service at the State Department, Kim worked as public prosecutor at the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office.
He then worked as Staff Assistant in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs in Washington, D.C. Kim was then assigned to United States Embassy in Seoul and worked as the Chief of Political Military Affairs. He then served as a Political Officer in Tokyo, Japan. His other assignments were to Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong. Back in Washington, he was appointed Director of the Office of Korean Affairs and served in the position from August 2006 to July 2008. On July 31, 2008 he was appointed Special Envoy for the Six-Party talks and accorded the rank of an ambassador after confirmation of nomination by the U.S. Senate.