October 27, 2014 10:06
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday swore in the new ambassador to Korea, Mark Lippert. Lippert (41) starts his tenure on Wednesday.
The ceremony at the State Department was attended by U.S. President Barack Obama and Korean Ambassador Ahn Ho-young.
Lippert's appointment stirred up a certain amount of controversy since he is relatively young and critics worried he might not have access to Obama. But the skeptics were reassured when Obama attended the swearing-in, which he had not done for the new ambassador to Japan, Caroline Kennedy, and the envoy to China, Max Baucus.
Perennial regional rivalries mean that Korea and Japan stare fixedly at each other in search of any sign of favoritism from their big ally.
Few previous ambassadors to Korea have been sworn in in the presence of their president.
Lippert told reporters he was "excited" about going to Seoul and promised to meet with the Korean public after presenting his credential to President Park Geun-hye.
He will come to Korea with his wife, who is expecting their first child.
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