March 15, 2018 10:31
Former U.S. Forces Korea commander James Thurman and Ed Royce, the chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs, are being mentioned as candidates for U.S. ambassador to Korea, a post that has been vacant for over a year, the South China Morning Post reported Wednesday.
Selection for the post hit yet another snag last month, when the White House abruptly dumped Victor Cha, who had already been granted agrément by Seoul, over a policy disagreement.
Thurman and Royce were part of the U.S. delegation to the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, which was headed by President Donald Trump's daughter Ivanka.
"White House officials are 'talking about' the pair, although no decision has been made yet," the Hong Kong daily quoted a source as saying.
"Having an ambassador who understands both the Korean and U.S. militaries would be very useful," the daily added, referring to Thurman. "Particularly if diplomacy proves ineffective and the U.S. again has to consider taking military action against Pyongyang."
Another former USFK chief, Walter Sharp is also being mentioned as a candidate. "It appears that Trump prefers a former military man or known hawk as the next ambassador," a diplomatic source said.
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