Jonathan Kaplan sworn in as US Ambassador to Singapore

WASHINGTON – Technology entrepreneur Jonathan Kaplan was sworn in as the United States Ambassador to Singapore on Tuesday (Nov 30), filling a post that has been vacant for nearly five years.

Mr Kaplan was ceremonially sworn in by Vice President Kamala Harris, on a copy of the US Constitution held by his daughter, who was one of his guests. Also present were his partner, niece, and two friends.

Ms Harris congratulated him after the swearing in, according to a media pool report. 

Mr Kaplan founded the company Pure Digital Technologies, which was known for its Flip video camera. He later started a chain of grilled cheese restaurants, and most recently co-founded EducationSuperHighway, a non-profit group that brings high-speed Internet to public schools.

He was nominated by President Joe Biden in July, and had his Senate hearing in October before being confirmed last month. 

The US has been stepping up its engagement with Southeast Asian countries with a string of high-profile visits in recent months, and senators at the confirmation hearing were hopeful that Mr Kaplan’s appointment could further strengthen these trade and diplomatic ties.

The envoy post has been empty since previous ambassador Kirk Wagar left his post in January 2017 at the end of the Obama administration. 

Previous president Donald Trump nominated political commentator and former official K. T. McFarland businesswoman Barbera Hale Thornhill for the post, but neither advanced through the Senate confirmation process.

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