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Palace asks US to keep Ambassador Sung Kim longer in PH

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With outgoing United States Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim having a “very good rapport” with the Duterte administration, the Office of the President had initially sought for his extension as Washington’s representative to Manila, a ranking official said Tuesday.

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“Ambassador Kim, no doubt about it, he has a very good rapport with President (Rodrigo) Duterte and with all our Cabinet,” Ambassador Babes Romualdez said.

“He really was sincerely liked, in fact, Secretary (Salvador) Medialdea asked me, I think sometime mid-June, he was telling me, ‘Baka puwede natin pa-extend, I said we’ll find out,'” he said.

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Romualdez relayed the request to the State Department which said it could not guarantee the appeal would be granted.

“I called up the State Department, they said ‘We’ll see but that would be difficult,’ until ‘yon na nga, they had no choice but wala na e, na-nominate na,” he said.

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On July 11, the White House finally announced that Kim was nominated as the next US Ambassador to Jakarta.

“It would be very hard to withdraw… Of course, we can always say we don’t accept (anyone) except Kim, because Japan did that before with Mike Mansfield, he was ambassador to Japan for nine years, anyone they asked to replace, Japan turned down because they like AmbassadorMansfield, but you know that’s something that we won’t do of course,” Romualdez said.

The envoy said Kim was expected to leave Manila by end of October 2019 or the early part of November.

As to who would be the next US Ambassador to the Philippines, Romualdez said “we’ll know within the next two months.”

“There are career diplomats… and President (Donald) Trump likes toappoint sometimes supporters, political appointees, so let’s see,” he said.

Politiko reported on July 9 that US State Department Deputy Assistant Secretary Mina Chang could be the new American envoy to thePhilippines, according to insider information from the executive department.

Chang, 32, is currently assigned to the State Department’s Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations.

In a statement, US Embassy’s Trude Raizen belied reports that MinaChang would replace Kim. “We’ve seen this claim. It is not true,” Raizen said.

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