Trump administration plans to nominate Harry Harris as South Korea envoy

25 April, 2018, 16:10 | Author: Bert Pena
  • US backflip on Australian Ambassador appointment

"Australia really is, if you like, a collateral casualty here to the shambolic personnel practices of the Trump administration", he told the ABC.

Ms Bishop told reporters after an Anzac Day dawn service in Sydney that Australia recognised the North Korea nuclear crisis was a top global security priority and understood if Washington felt Admiral Harris was needed on the Korean peninsula.

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

Harris had originally been the president's pick for ambassador to Australia, a key US ally.

In his 2014 confirmation hearing to be commander of Pacific Command, Harris said he believed North Korea to be the "most volatile and unsafe threat" in the region.

Harris's hearing with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee was going to be held on Tuesday, but the administration asked for it be postponed.

Admiral Harris assumed his current post in 2015 and will soon retire from the military.

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The official made assurances the U.S. diplomatic mission in Australia was in good hands while the appointment of a new ambassador was pending.

U.S. forces in the Pacific "must be prepared to fight tonight, so I take him at his word", he said previous year about Kim's intentions. He was nominated for the Australia role by Mr Trump in February. "I must assume his claims are true - I know his aspirations certainly are".

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.

Harris has also watched as an increasingly assertive China has pursued a more muscular military posture in the Pacific and established a military presence on man-made islands in areas the United States and its allies contend are worldwide waters.

Ms Bishop said "we understand the challenges the United States has on the Korean peninsula".

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. And it's understandable to do so, given the 19-month delay in appointing a United States ambassador to Canberra under Donald Trump's presidency.

Earlier this year, the U.S. withdrew Victor Cha, a North Korea expert, from consideration for the job amid allegations over his policy differences with the Trump administration on the North and other issues.

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