Korean-American Ambassador Kim Meets Culture Minister Choe – Korea.net

Sung Kim is a graduate of University of Pennsylvania (BA), Loyola Law School (JD), and the London School of Economics (Master’s degree).

Before joining the foreign service at United States State Department, Kim worked as public prosecutor at Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office.

He then worked as Staff Assistant in the Bureau of East Asia 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 during the Bush Administration and accorded the rank of an ambassador after confirmation of nomination by the U.S. Senate in October of 2011.  [Background info from wikipedia.]

Recently he met with South Korea’s Culture Minister for the first time since taking office.


Sung Kim, the current Ambassador of the United States to the Republic of Korea, met with Choe Kwang-sik, the Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism, on January 19 for the first time since officially taking office last October.

“Our two countries already enjoy a strong relationship, but I hope that we can expand cooperation to new areas, beyond political and economic sectors,” said Kim at the start of the meeting, which took place in the Ministry’s main office by Changyeonggung Palace.

Referring to the culture, sports, and tourism sectors as encompassing some of the most exciting developments and accomplishments in Korea, Kim extended his congratulations for the successful bid by Pyeongchang for the 2018 Olympics. He also remarked on the increased visibility of Korean athletes in recent years, prompting Choe to bring up the growing international interest in the Korean sport taekwondo, which is currently an Olympic event.

Sung Kim, Ambassador of the United States to the Republic of Korea, shares his thoughts with Culture Minister Choe Kwang-sik (Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism). 

The two also discussed the worldwide spread of Hallyu, with Choe explaining how the popularity of Korean culture started with the interest in Korean dramas, and has since spread to K-pop, Korean food, Korean traditional culture, and Korean fashion. Kim described Hallyu as one of Korea’s best exports, noting the parallel between the rise of Hallyu stars and the rise of Korea as a leader not only in Asia but in the global arena.
“Culture has a real attraction,” continued Choe. “When I was young, we learned about America and became interested in American culture through pop music.”
When the topic of Korean food arose, Kim expressed his love for Korean food and told Choe that one of the most popular Korean restaurants in the Washington, D.C. area is a street food-type establishment where customers sit in plastic chairs and cook samgyeopsal over a smoky grill. He added that over half of the customers who seek out the restaurant are non-Koreans. Choe too remarked on the popularity of samgyeopsal cooked in the Korean style, in places like Paris.

Choe Kwang-sik, Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism, talks with Sung Kim, Ambassador of the United States to the Republic of Korea (Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism). 

“We say that Samgyeopsal offers a unique multisensory experience,” quipped Choe. You not only see and smell it cooking before you eat it, but you use your own hands to cook it, and you get to hear that trademark sizzle of the meat on the grill. It appeals to all five of our senses.”
When Choe mentioned the increase in tourism between the two countries since Korea was added to the U.S. Visa Waiver Program in 2008, Kim called the 2008 initiative one of the most significant developments in Korea-U.S. relations, with more people from both countries able to visit back and forth freely.
“The move from political and economic cooperation to personal interactions and exchanges in the sectors of culture, sports, and tourism signifies deepening ties between our countries,” reiterated Choe. Choe explained that the Ministry is currently active in overseeing developments in a total of seven sectors, including religious affairs, media policy, public relations, and the cultural content industry. He added with a laugh, “And that’s why they call me the ‘Rainbow Minister,’ for our seven colors.”
Kim and Choe both expressed their anticipation for 2012, which has been designated “The Korea Convention Year” in part due to the approaching Yeosu Expo.
“While I am in office, I hope to reach out to the younger generation in Korea, including college students and high school students,” said Kim at the closing of the meeting, reiterating a goal he outlined in an official statement delivered upon arrival at Incheon Airport last November. “I look forward to working together to make this happen. We have a busy year ahead of us.”
Ambassador Kim is the first American of Korean descent to serve as chief diplomat of the United States to Korea. Kim was born in Seoul and grew up in Los Angeles, receiving his undergraduate degree at the University of Pennsylvania and law degrees from both Loyola University and the London School of Economics.
Prior to being nominated by President Barack Obama for this position, Kim acted as Special Envoy for the Six Party-Talks, headed the Office of Korean Affairs at the Department of State, and served in overseas offices in Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, and Seoul.
By Kwon Jungyun
Korea.net Staff Writer

Korea.net : The official website of the Republic of Korea

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One Response to Korean-American Ambassador Kim Meets Culture Minister Choe – Korea.net

  1. admin

    February 1, 2012 at 7:02 am

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