VIDEO: U.S. Ambassador to Seoul Mark Lippert: ‘I feel incredibly lucky’

Posted: 5:37 pm PST
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Mark Lippert, the U.S. ambassador to South Korea, joins TODAY to talk about the terrifying moment he was attacked by a man wielding a knife. He’s out of the hospital and recovering, and says he feels safe in South Korea.

 

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US Embassy Seoul: Ambassador Mark Lippert Leaves Hospital

Posted: 1:47 am EDT
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Sorry FSOs: Senate Confirms Lippert, O’Malley, Crocker, Scheinman, Holleyman and Lenhardt

— Domani Spero
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On September 18, the Senate confirmed the following State Department nominations. Also confirmed were the nominees for USTR and USAID.

South Korea: Mark William Lippert, to be Ambassador to the Republic of Korea

Ireland: Kevin F. O’Malley, to be Ambassador to Ireland

State/IO: Bathsheba Nell Crocker, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (International Organization Affairs)

State/NPT: Adam M. Scheinman, to be Special Representative of the President for Nuclear Nonproliferation, with the rank of Ambassador

USTR: Robert W. Holleyman II, to be Deputy United States Trade Representative, with the rank of Ambassador

USAID: Alfonso E. Lenhardt, to be Deputy Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development

 

Looking at the names of these lucky ones who made it out of the Senate, one simply feels bad for career diplomats who typically do not have BFFs in high places to lobby for their confirmation. Nominees for Palau and Timor-Leste who both have waited over 400 days may be forced to wait many more days unless the Senate act on those nominations in the next couple of days. Or perhaps after the November election? Perhaps next year?  Nominees for Paraguay, Vietnam, Bangladesh, and Cabo Verde, all career diplomats are also stuck in the Senate. Confirmation by crisis works as we have seen clearly this year, though not all the time.  But if a coup or a civil strife breaks out in any of these places in the next 48 hours, the nominees might, just might get moved up the Senate’s “we haven’t forgotten you” list before the clock runs out.

Well, what are you waiting for? Start something happening somewhere, pronto!

 

Oh, wait! Too late to start a coup.  The Senate’s gone, people!

 

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Happy Birthday America! 4th of July Celebrations From Around the World

— Domani Spero
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The 2014 July 4th celebrations at our diplomatic missions actually started this past February, with the U.S. Embassy Kathmandu celebration of the 238th Anniversary of the Independence of the United States of America on February 22, 2014. This was followed by  the US Embassy in Oman which hosted its independence day event on March 25, 2014 (see Open Season: This Year’s July 4th Independence Day Celebrations Officially On). Here are the well-timed red, white and blue celebrations that caught our eyes this year.

 

U.S. Consulate Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

In an unprecedented tribute to U.S. Independence Day, Rio de Janeiro’s iconic the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro was lit with the colors of the American flag on July 3, 2014.  U.S. Consul General to Rio de Janeiro John Creamer and Christ the Redeemer rector Father Omar Raposo  were at the monument for the special lighting, which happens as Brazil hosts approximately 90,000 U.S. tourists for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Pretty cool!

USCG Rio/FB

USCG Rio/FB

U.S. Embassy Tallin, Estonia

This 4th of July cake was so huge that it needed six people to carry it into the event hosted by Ambassador Jeffrey Levine.  We think that this cake was made by the  Radisson Blu Hotel in Tallinn. We don’t know many many years the hotel has been making this cake for the annual event but just below the photo is the time lapse video showing the making of the 300KG 4th of July cake for Embassy Tallinn a couple of years ago.  Amazing!

 

Independence Day Celebration, June 26, 2014 Photos by U.S. Embassy Tallinn

Independence Day Celebration, June 26, 2014
Photos by U.S. Embassy Tallinn

 

U.S. Embassy Nairobi, Kenya

 

U.S. Embassy Kampala, Uganda

4july14_uganda

U.S. Embassy Kabul, Afghanistan

Flags of the 50 United States hanging above the Independence Day celebration at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Tuesday,June 24, 2014. (Photo by Musadeq Sadeq/U.S. State Department)

US Embassy Kabul/Flickr

 

U.S. Embassy Beirut, Lebanon

Ambassador David Hale hosted a celebration on June 17 at BIEL with Lebanese officials, members of Parliament, and Embassy guests in attendance.

Via US Embassy Lebanon/FB

Via US Embassy Lebanon/FB

 

U.S. Embassy New Delhi, India

U.S. Embassy Canberra, Australia

Embassy Canberra ran a social media Independence Day contest and came up with MasterChef Australia contestants akitchencat
and The Bread & Butter Chef Kylie Ofiu  as winners to join them for the 4th of July bash.  American chef Tory McPhail also arrived in Canberra last week and got the Embassy kitchen prepped and ready to feed over 600 people for the event hosted by Ambassador John Berry.

Photo via US Embassy Canberra/FB

Photo via US Embassy Canberra/FB

 

U.S. Embassy Wellington, New Zealand

This year’s Independence Day event in Wellington hosted by DCM Marie C. Damour had a#USA culinary theme.  Check out some U.S. recipes at: http://www.discoveramerica.com/usa/culinary-landing.aspx Discover America. And here’s the Kentucky Honey!

Photo via US Embassy New Zealand/Flickr

Photo via US Embassy New Zealand/Flickr

 

U.S.Consulate General Auckland, New Zealand

U.S. Independence Day Event in Auckland, July 3, 2014.  U.S. Independence Day Event in Auckland, July 3, 2014.

U.S. Independence Day Event in Auckland, July 3, 2014.

U.S. Embassy Bangkok, Thailand

 

U.S. Embassy Rome, Italy

A Villa Taverna l’Ambasciatore Phillips ha ospitato il ricevimento per il Giorno dell’Indipendenza, per celebrare l’America e l’amicizia con l’Italia, tra musica, hamburgers e, ovviamente… Fireworks!!

U.S. Embassy Seoul, South Korea

 

Via US Embassy Seoul/FB

Via US Embassy Seoul/FB

 

U.S. Embassy Quito, Ecuador

 

U.S. Embassy  Tel Aviv, Israel

We’re excited to have @dominos with us today. Happy 4th, America. #july4tlv pic.twitter.com/HfyN1Wziyw

U.S. Embassy Valleta, Malta

Embassy Malta had Route 66 as its event and menu theme; the celebration includes vintage American cars on display in the compound.

4july14_malta

Photo via US Embassy Malta/FB

U.S. Embassy Madrid, Spain

U.S. Consulate General Barcelona, Spain

 

U.S. Embassy Copenhagen, Denmark

Rydhave, all ready to receive over 1.000 of Embassy Copenhagen’s closest friends and contacts. Entertainment this year was provided by Basim, and the band The Sentimentals. The Embassy’s own Sonia Evans performed the American national anthem.The food at the event was supplied by CP Cooking.

 

Photo by US Embassy Denmark

Photo by US Embassy Denmark

 

U.S. Embassy London, United Kingdom

 

U.S. Embassy Ottawa, Canada

 

 

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President Obama Visits Tokyo, Seoul, Kuala Lumpur, Manila — Yabusame, Durian, EDCA, and Lots of Handshakes

— Domani Spero

President Obama is traveling to Japan, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, and the Philippines from April 22 to April 29. Below are some photos from his stops:

Japan

The US Embassy Tokyo folks also got a meet and greet with President Obama. We are pleased to hear that no one was strangled with the lanyard of some Top Secret Clearance badge despite all that standing around waiting to see POTUS.  You all did not get up at 3 a.m., did you?

Republic of Korea

Malaysia

Philippines

Shortly before President Obama arrived in Manila, the United States and the Philippines signed the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA). The agreement is designed to promote among other things, capacity building towards Philippine Army modernization, maritime security, maritime domain awareness and humanitarian assistance and disaster response.

For more of that, see links below:

President Barack Obama stretches to shake the hand of a young girl held aloft during a U.S. Embassy meet and greet at the Sofitel Hotel in Manila, Philippines, April 28, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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US Embassy Seoul Tweets B-2 Spirit Stealth Bombers: Precision Strikes at Will

Last week, the US Embassy in Seoul sent this tweet:

Screen Shot 2013-03-28

Today, this one:

Screen Shot 2013-03-28

b-2 bomber_usemb seoul

The CSMonitor quoted Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel as saying that the unprecedented U.S. decision to send nuclear-capable B-2 stealth bombers to drop dummy munitions during military drills with South Korea was part of normal exercises and not intended to provoke a reaction from North Korea.

BBC News reported that that North Koreans  have put missile units on stand-by to attack US targets in response to US stealth bomber flights over the Korean peninsula.  The report citing the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) also said that Kim Jong-un signed off on the order at a late-night meeting of top generals. The time had come to “settle accounts” with the US, KCNA quoted him as saying, with the B-2 flights an “ultimatum”.

A statement from US Forces Korea  says in part:

U.S. Strategic Command sent two B-2 Spirit bombers for a long-duration, round-trip training mission from Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., to the Republic of Korea March 28 as part of the ongoing bilateral Foal Eagle training exercise. 

This mission by two B-2 Spirit bombers assigned to 509th Bomb Wing, which demonstrates the United States’ ability to conduct long range, precision strikes quickly and at will, involved flying more than 6,500 miles to the Korean Peninsula, dropping inert munitions on the Jik Do Range, and returning to the continental U.S. in a single, continuous mission.

The United States is steadfast in its alliance commitment to the defense of the Republic of Korea, to deterring aggression, and to ensuring peace and stability in the region.  The B-2 bomber is an important element of America’s enduring and robust extended deterrence capability in the Asia-Pacific region.  

That’s two flying over the Korean Peninsula, there are 18 more in the inventory.  Read more here.  Also BBC’s piece on How potent are North Korea’s threats? 
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Gangnam Style Intern Flash “Mob” Invades US Embassy Seoul, Then Psy Shows Up

The Gangnam Style video by South Korean rapper Psy has been viewed over 480,000,000 million times on YouTube as of October 17, 2012.  So sorry did not get to see Ambassador Kim as the first Gangnam Style Ambassador but at least he got a “mob” of interns willing to do the dance. Check below at the 00:20 – 1:00 mark, where I would have chopped this video off:

And then what do you know?  Psy stopped by at the US Embassy in Seoul “on a visa matter.”  Well, not on the same day.  Ambassador Kim blogs that “Psy keeps getting asked to perform in the U.S.  The wonderful side effect is that we occasionally get to see him at the U.S. Embassy.”

 

US Ambassador to Seoul Sung Kim with Psy
(Photo via US Embassy/FB)


That’s Psy without his blue jacket and eyeglasses and no crazy horse riding dance this time.  Psy reportedly got an “O” visa for “aliens of extraordinary ability.”  And like all visa applicants, he was interviewed, fingerprinted and had a chit-chat with the ambassador.  🙂

Photo of the Day: Ambassador Kim Shows His Fashion Sense at “2012 World of Calvin Klein”

Via US Embassy Seoul/FB:  “Ambassador shows his fashion sense at “2012 World of Calvin Klein” fashion show at the Seoul Station rooftop!”

That’s Ambassador Sung Kim, our ambassador to the Republic of Korea. Prior to his appointment to the US Embassy in Seoul, you will remember him as the Special Envoy for the Six-Party Talks.  Before that, he headed the Office of Korean Affairs at the Department of State from August 2006 to July 2008.  Ambassador Kim also served in a variety of positions in the East Asia Pacific region including overseas assignments in Seoul, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong.

Photo via US Embassy Seoul/FB

In early July, we blogged about Ambassador Kenney at the BIFF (see Ambassador Kristie Kenney on the Runway at Bangkok International Fashion Fair). Not sure if Ambassador Kim actually walked the runway in Seoul in late May (no blog post about the event) or if he just popped in to show the flag. But if he did, that probably makes him the first chief of mission on the catwalk.

The show, by the way, was put together by Calvin Klein Inc., a fashion house founded by American fashion designer Calvin KleinAccording the WWD, the private event took place in a purpose-built structure on top of the landmark Seoul Station, and featured three interactive video installations by Rafaël Rozendaal, Scott Snibbe and the Flightphase collective. The night’s highlight, however, was a specially curated program of videos displayed on the Seoul Square Media Canvas, the world’s largest LED screen at 23 stories tall.

Domani Spero