United States Ambassador to South Korea

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Ambassador of the United States to South Korea
US Department of State official seal.svg
Seal of the United States Department of State
Marc Knapper
Chargé d'Affaires ad interim

since January 20, 2017
Nominator President of the United States
Inaugural holder Lucius H. Foote
as Envoy, Resident Minister and Consul-General
Formation 1883
Website U.S. Embassy - Korea

The United States Ambassador to South Korea is the chief diplomatic representative of the United States accredited to the Republic of Korea. The ambassador's official title is "Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Korea."[1]

The last Ambassador was Mark Lippert, who served during the presidency of Barack Obama. The position has been vacant since Donald Trump took office as President of the United States on January 20, 2017. Marc Knapper, formerly Deputy Chief of Mission under Lippert, is serving as Chargé d’Affaires ad interim in the absence of an ambassador.

Joseon and Korean Empire[edit]

After the United States–Korea Treaty of 1882 was negotiated, diplomatic representatives were sent from Washington to Seoul.[2] From then until 1905, there were several Envoys and Consuls General, each heading what was called a legation. After the Japanese had defeated the Chinese in 1895, and the Russians in 1905, Korea began to see its independence disappear. By 1910, Japan had annexed Korea and the U.S. no longer had a diplomatic presence in Korea.

Envoy, Resident Minister and Consul-General[edit]

Republic of Korea[edit]

At the end of World War II, American forces accepted Imperial Japan's surrender in southern Korea, and Soviet forces accepted the surrender of the Japanese in northern Korea. Talks to agree upon a unity government for Korea failed and in 1948, two separate Korean states were created: the Republic of Korea (South Korea) and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea). The United States established diplomatic relations with the new South Korean government, but did not recognize North Korea. Other countries, like the Soviet Union, recognized the Pyongyang government in North Korea, but did not initially establish relations with the South Korean government in Seoul.

The United States has maintained constant diplomatic relations with South Korea since 1948, with formal recognition of the Republic of Korea on 1 January 1949. The American special representative, John J. Muccio, became the first Ambassador to the Republic of Korea on March 1, 1949.[7]

The Embassy of the United States in Seoul has jurisdiction over APP Busan.


Democratic People's Republic of Korea[edit]

As of 2017, the U.S. has no diplomatic presence in North Korea.[19]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Embassy of the United States, Seoul, Ambassador
  2. ^ Korean Mission to the Conference on the Limitation of Armament, Washington, D.C., 1921-1922. (1922). Korea's Appeal to the Conference on Limitation of Armament, pp. 29-32., p. 29, at Google Books
  3. ^ a b c d Korean Mission p. 32., p. 32, at Google Books
  4. ^ Foulk served two tours of duty. He relieved Ambassador Parker, whose alcoholism affected his ability to fulfill his responsibilities.
  5. ^ U.S. Congress, Dismore bio
  6. ^ Korean Mission p. 32, p. 32, at Google Books; note that Morgan's term was brief. He (a) presented credentials on June 26, 1905; (b) closed the Legation, November 28, 1905; and (c) left Seoul, December 8, 1905 after Japan took over responsibility for Korean foreign relations
  7. ^ a b Schnabel, James F. (1972). Policy and Direction: the First Year, p. 28., p. 28, at Google Books
  8. ^ Brazinsky, George. (2007). Nation Building in South Korea, pp. 105-106, p. 105, at Google Books
  9. ^ Brazinsky,pp. 111-112, p. 111, at Google Books
  10. ^ Brazinsky, pp. 118-120, p. 118, at Google Books
  11. ^ Brazinsky, p. 135, p. 135, at Google Books
  12. ^ Brazinsky, pp. 150-160, p. 150, at Google Books
  13. ^ Brazinsky, p. 126, p. 126, at Google Books
  14. ^ Brazinsky, p. 226, p. 226, at Google Books
  15. ^ Funabashi, Yōichi. (2007). The Peninsula Question: a Chronicle of the Second Korean Nuclear Crisis, p. 225-226., p. 225, at Google Books
  16. ^ Funabashi, p. 108., p. 108, at Google Books
  17. ^ Funabashi, p. 372., p. 372, at Google Books
  18. ^ Funabashi, p. 176., p. 176, at Google Books
  19. ^ "North Korea: Diplomatic representation from the US". The World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. Retrieved 20 March 2014. 


External links[edit]