The US Embassy in Manila has denied reports that its new ambassador to the Philippines would be US State Assistant Secretary Mina Chang.
Several online news sites have cited “insider information” about a plan to replace the current US ambassador Sung Kim, who has served in the country for three years.
“We’ve seen this claim. It is not true,” the Embassy said in a statement today (Wednesday, July 10).
The embassy said the White House has previously announced President Trump’s intent to nominate the 32-year-old Korean-American diplomat as an Assistant Administrator of the US Agency for International Development’s Bureau for Asia.
“The nomination was referred to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in January 2019. There have been no additional White House announcements regarding her nomination to the USAID position,” the statement added.
The embassy’s rebuttal of the rumour came after presidential spokesman has spoken of his “excitement” to work with the strikingly attractive Chang. Speaking at a press conference yesterday, he said: “Did you hear about the incoming… I don’t know if true, the incoming US Ambassador? Beautiful, maganda, golfer pa, Harvard pa [golfer and a Harvard graduate].
“Ewan ko, basta iyon ang sabi eh. Nakarating na rin sa inyo ha [I don’t know but that’s what the report said. It has reached you too]. Exciting times.”
The U.S. government, through USAID has committed $59.1 million (3.2 billion pesos) for humanitarian and recovery work in and around war-torn Marawi City.
The Department of State describes Chang as having “extensive on the ground experience in conflict areas such as in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Nigeria, and the Philippines.”
Ambassador Kim assumed his post as Washington’s envoy to Manila in 2016, replacing Philip Goldberg, who served from 2013 to 2016.
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