U.S. denies Mina Chang is next ambassador to Philippines

Paterno Esmaquel II
U.S. denies Mina Chang is next ambassador to Philippines
US President Donald Trump wants instead to nominate Mina Chang as assistant administrator of the US Agency for International Development

MANILA, Philippines – The United States denied on Wednesday, July 10, that US State Department official Mina Chang is set to become their next ambassador to the Philippines.

“We’ve seen this claim. It is not true,” said the US embassy in a statement Wednesday.

The US embassy clarified: “In September 2018, the White House announced the President’s intent to nominate Mina Chang to be an assistant administrator of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) for the Bureau of 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,” said the embassy.

Chang is deputy assistant secretary for the Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations of the US State Department.

Malacañang floated speculations on Tuesday, July 9, that Chang could become the next US ambassador to the Philippines.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said on Tuesday: “Did you hear about the incoming…. I don’t know if true, the incoming US ambassador? Beautiful, maganda, golfer pa, Harvard pa. Ewan ko, basta iyon ang sabi eh. Nakarating na rin sa inyo ha. (She’s beautiful, a golfer, and a Harvard graduate at that. I don’t know, that’s what I heard. It also apparently reached you.)

“Exciting times,” Panelo quipped.

The Philippines and the US have had a rocky relationship under President Rodrigo Duterte because of perceived US interference in Duterte’s bloody anti-drug campaign.

But US Ambassador Sung Kim, a diplomat of Asian descent who is also an expert on North Korea, has managed to improve US ties with the Philippines under the personalistic Duterte. – Rappler.com

Paterno Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.