Published: Wed, April 25, 2018
World News | By Laverne Osborne

Trump administration plans to nominate Harry Harris as South Korea envoy

Trump administration plans to nominate Harry Harris as South Korea envoy

A senior White House official told The Washington Post that the administration now plans to renominate Harris as United States envoy to South Korea and Harris reportedly intends to accept.

President Donald Trump has pulled his choice for USA ambassador to Australia and will send him to South Korea instead, according to several media reports.

One source told CNN that Pompeo has proposed the switch pending Trump's blessing.

Opposition defense spokesman Richard Marles said the sooner Australia gets a new US ambassador the better.

Andrew Shearer, a senior policy adviser for the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, told the ABC's AM programme it would be "hard to escape a bit of a sense that Australia is being treated here as a second-class ally".

The Trump administration is reportedly set to name US Navy Adm. Harry Harris as ambassador to South Korea.

"I think that's regrettable", he said.

Admiral Harris was in Washington this week for a Senate confirmation hearing on his nomination for the Australia post.

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Harris' confirmation hearing to be ambassador to Australia was scheduled for Tuesday but was postponed.

The reshuffle could also have an impact outside of the US and South Korea.

He said he was encouraged by the prospect of a summit, but that North Korea remained the biggest security threat in the Asia-Pacific region.

Bishop said Australia understands the challenges on the Korean peninsula, adding that it was warned of the plan to redirect Harris in a bid to defuse suggestions the move had caused tensions with the US.

To make a rational judgement about how seriously we should feel aggrieved, we need to assess what exactly the prioritisation of Australia-US alliance diplomacy - both in reality and in appearance - is being sacrificed for.

In January, the Trump administration decided not to nominate Victor Cha - a long rumored candidate to be U.S. ambassador to South Korea - a reversal, sources told CNN at the time, that was driven by a disagreement over a "bloody nose" strike against Pyongyang.

The White House said in February it was no longer considering Victor Cha, a former official who questioned the wisdom of a preventative military strike on North Korea that was being mulled by the administration as a possibility earlier this year.

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