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(2nd LD) U.S. drops Cha as pick for ambassador to S. Korea

2018/01/31 07:41

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(ATTN: UPDATES with White House confirmation; ADDS details)

WASHINGTON, Jan. 30 (Yonhap) -- The United States has withdrawn former White House official Victor Cha from consideration for ambassador to South Korea, a U.S. official said Tuesday.

The official on the White House National Security Council confirmed the news with Yonhap.

According to The Washington Post, Cha expressed disagreement with the Trump administration's considerations of a limited military strike on North Korea, as well as its threats to terminate a bilateral free trade agreement with South Korea.

Cha served as director for Asian affairs on the White House National Security Council in the George W. Bush administration. He is currently the Korea chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

In December, the Trump administration reportedly requested Seoul's approval of Cha. At the time, sources told Yonhap the new envoy could take office before the PyeongChang Winter Olympics if the Senate quickly confirms his appointment.

The post has been vacant since the Trump administration came into office early last year, sparking concerns about close coordination between the allies at a time of heightened tensions over North Korea's nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.

If appointed, Cha would have become the second Korean-American to take the post after Ambassador Sung Kim, who served in the Barack Obama administration.

This file photo shows Victor Cha. (Yonhap) This file photo shows Victor Cha. (Yonhap)

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