Ambassador Kurt Tong is a Partner at The Asia Group, where he leads the firm’s work in Japan and the broader East Asia region. A leading expert in diplomacy and economic affairs in East Asia, Ambassador Tong has thirty years of experience in the Department of State as a career Foreign Service Officer and member of the Senior Foreign Service.
Prior to joining The Asia Group, Ambassador Tong served as Consul General and Chief of Mission in Hong Kong and Macau. Prior to that role, he served as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic and Business Affairs at the State Department from 2014 to 2016. He also served as the Deputy Chief of Mission and Chargé d’Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo from 2011 to 2014.
Prior to these positions, Ambassador Tong served as Ambassador for Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in 2011, leading the U.S. chairmanship of the organization during one of the most productive periods for APEC. As Director of Korean Affairs in the State Department’s Bureau of East Asia and Pacific Affairs, he played a leadership role in negotiations with North Korea as part of the Six-Party Talks and in securing the release of captive Americans held there. He was one of the original architects of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement during the Bush and Obama administrations, including while serving as Director for Asian Economic Affairs at the White House National Security Council from 2006 to 2008.
Earlier in his career, Ambassador Tong served as Economic Minister-Counselor in Seoul, Counselor for Environment, Science and Health at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, Deputy Treasury Attaché in Tokyo, and as an economic officer in Manila.
Ambassador Tong holds a B.A. from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University and studied economics at the U.S. Foreign Service Institute. He has also studied at the Beijing Institute of Education, Inter-University Program for Chinese Language Studies in Taipei, Inter-University Center for Japanese Language Studies in Tokyo, and International Christian University in Tokyo.