U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday appointed James Zumwalt, the State Department official handling Korean and other East Asian affairs, as new ambassador to Senegal and Guinea Bissau. The move has opened the way for U.S. Ambassador Sung Kim to replace Zumwalt.
One diplomatic source in Washington said Kim will "likely" get the job. Glyn Davies, the special representative for North Korea policy, is scheduled to be appointed ambassador to a major Asian country, so Kim could serve as both deputy assistant secretary of state and special representative for North Korea policy.
This would make him the top U.S. negotiator in six-party talks about denuclearizing North Korea, if they ever resume.
Kim used to head the Korean affairs desk at the State Department and has served as Washington's point man at the six-party talks as well as special envoy to North Korea.