According to a diplomatic source in Seoul, US President Joe Biden has appointed Philip Goldberg, a veteran career diplomat and former North Korean sanctions administrator as ambassador to South Korea.
According to the source, who communicated on the condition of anonymity, Philip Goldberg, who has served as ambassador to Colombia since 2019, will be chosen for the position in Seoul.
According to the Chosun Ilbo newspaper, which quoted multiple anonymous diplomatic sources, the US has demanded Seoul’s approval after deciding to nominate Goldberg late last year, and an official declaration is expected soon.
The US Embassy in Seoul has no proclamations to make at this time, according to a spokesperson, and any official news would follow from the White House.
The foreign ministry of South Korea has said it couldn’t authenticate the claims.
From 2009 to 2010, Goldberg, who previously served as ambassador to the Philippines and Bolivia, among other roles, worked as the coordinator for the implementation of UN sanctions against North Korea.
While Seoul and Washington maintained their partnership is “iron-clad,” the sanctions have led to debates, as they have blocked South Korea from expanding its commercial ties with North Korea.
Since the last ambassador to South Korea, former navy admiral Harry Harris, stood down when Biden took office in January 2021, the job has been filled by a charge d’affaires ad interim for more than a year.
During Harris’ term, the relationship was strained as then-President Donald Trump pushed Seoul to pay billions more to keep the approximately 28,500 US troops deployed there, while South Korea opposed the US’s demand for tough sanctions implementation.