Pompeo wants to switch Australia ambassador pick to South Korea: report

Pompeo wants to switch Australia ambassador pick to South Korea: report
© Greg Nash

Secretary of State nominee Mike PompeoMike PompeoWhite House denies pausing military aid package to Ukraine The Hill's Morning Report - ObamaCare here to stay The Hill's Morning Report - After high-stakes Biden-Putin summit, what now? MORE plans to switch President TrumpDonald TrumpIran claims U.S. to lift all oil sanctions but State Department says 'nothing is agreed' Ivanka Trump, Kushner distance themselves from Trump claims on election: CNN Overnight Defense: Joint Chiefs chairman clashes with GOP on critical race theory | House bill introduced to overhaul military justice system as sexual assault reform builds momentum MORE's proposed ambassador to Australia to instead be the U.S. ambassador to South Korea, The Washington Post reports.

A senior White House official told the Post that the administration is planning to re-nominate Adm. Harry Harris, a pick that had been approved by the Australian government to be an ambassador to that country, to be his nominee for South Korea envoy.

Harris, who is currently the head of U.S. Pacific Command and was expected to retire this year before being called to serve in Australia, has reportedly told Pompeo he is willing to serve in South Korea.


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

Marc Knapper has been serving as charge d’affaires leading the U.S. Embassy in Seoul for the past 15 months, but the Post reported that Pompeo wants to move Harris to South Korea because of the urgency to fill the post with one of Trump's nominees as talks with North Korea over its nuclear program ramp up.

Trump is expected to participate in a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un sometime in May or June to discuss North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.

An official announcement on Harris’s new nomination is expected shortly after the president gives his final approval, the Post reported.

Still, Harris's nomination to serve as the top ambassador to South Korea will likely take some time.

Democrats could also use it to extract more details from the administration about its strategy for the talks with North Korea, the Post noted.