US President Donald Trump has moved to fill a critical gap in his team of foreign policy players. Trump nominated US Navy’s Admiral Harry Harris for the post of ambassador to South Korea. This nomination comes just weeks before the US-North Korea Summit where President Trump is set to meet with the leader of North Korea, Kim Jong Un. However, the White House had given a disclaimer earlier this year that Admiral Harris would be appointed to represent the United States as the US Australian ambassador. Admiral Harris serves as the commander of the US Pacific Command.
However, the decision to take Harris to Australia took a different turn after the firing of Rex Tillerson as the secretary of state and his replacement with the former chief of the CIA, Mike Pompeo. Mike Pompeo has led the United States in building bridges of friendship with the repressive regime in Pyongyang. He has travelled twice to the country and met Kim Jong Un in an attempt to secure the release of some American citizens who were held in the country. On the other hand, South Korea has played a critical role in bringing the two nations together.
The US and North Korea have been at loggerheads with each other since the end of the Korean War in 1953. The Korean War ended with an armistice. The war marked the first major conflict of the nuclear age, and one where the United States never dictated the terms of surrender. The lack of a US envoy in Seoul during the peace deliberations has been seen as a vulnerability on the side of Washington. Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump are set to meet in a summit on the 12th of June this year in Singapore. In a statement released by the White House Press Secretary, President Trump said that Admiral Harris was a proven officer in the US Navy who has extensive leadership, knowledge and geopolitical expertise in the Asia-Pacific region.
Admiral Harris was born in Japan and has served the United States Navy for over four decades. Harris graduated from the Annapolis Naval Academy in 1978. This information is recorded in Admiral Harris’ official bibliography. Admiral Harris has in the past said that North Korea is one of the most severe threats to the United States. Harris made these comments in an interview with Fox News. Harris said that the only way to deal with North Korea is to denuclearize the country fully.