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3 years ago

Dropping of U.S. ambassador pick raises concerns over Trump administration policy on North Korea

Arirang News
Arirang News
There has not been a U.S. ambassador to South Korea for over a year now, and the post seems set to remain vacant for a while... with the White House dropping its latest nominee.
The unexpected more raises a lot of questions especially pertaining to Washington's policies concerning the Korean peninsula.
Kwon Jang-ho delves deeper into the issue.
The withdrawal of Victor Cha as the Trump administration's nominee for the U.S. ambassador to South Korea has brought surprise and concern to the Korean peninsula.
The reasons behind why the Georgetown University academic and former advisor to George W. Bush was dropped is unclear, but differences in opinion on issues such as North Korea, and the South Korea-U.S. FTA, have been cited.
An op-ed in the Washington Post on Tuesday, written by Cha himself, shed a little more light on those differences.
Cha said he had warned the White House against a preventive military strike, saying it would risk hundreds of thousands of lives, and that other options were available.

It's highly unusual for an ambassadorial nominee to be dropped this late in the process, especially after Washington had received official approval from Seoul over his appointment. Cha's comments have sparked concerns that Washington's preparations for a military conflict are further ahead than previously thought.
But observers say that although military options remain on the table, the current circumstances with Cha do not necessarily point to any imminent danger.

"He's not saying that the administration is going to do this, but that there are some people both within and outside of the administration that are contemplating this idea. So, yes, we should give weight to the importance of the implications that may arise, but to say that this is what the White House will do, I think is going a little too far.

The process of finding and appointing another nominee for ambassador to South Korea is expected to take several months, and the prolonged absence will continue to raise questions about communication between the two allies, while the situation with North Korea remains tense.
Seoul will likely keep a close eye on the situation, as any appointment could hint at the direction of Washington's future policies towards the Korean peninsula, but it seems the Trump administration is willing to wait to find someone who will toe the party line.
Kwon Jang-ho, Arirang News.

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