Victor Cha, a Washington-based Asia expert and former White House official, has been named the next U.S. ambassador to South Korea, according Reuters.
He will replace Mark Lippert, who served as top U.S. diplomat in Seoul under the Barack Obama administration, filling a seven-month diplomatic vacancy here after Donald Trump took office.
A Washington official said he expected the appointment, which will be subject to a Senate confirmation hearing, to be announced "soon," and added that it had "been in the works for a long time," Reuters reported.
Cha is a former director for Asian affairs on the White House National Security Council and served as deputy head of the US delegation in multilateral talks with North Korea over its nuclear program during the administration of President George W. Bush.
The Korean-American is also known for being part of a U.S. delegation for multilateral talks aimed at denuclearizing North Korea.
The Korean-American, born in 1959, studied economics and earned a PhD in politics at Columbia University.
Cha currently serves as the Korea chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). Cha regarded as hawkish on diplomatic and defense matters is an advocate of strong sanctions on Pyongyang, including secondary boycott measures and rejects any unconditional support in violation of sanctions against the North.
The choice is deemed mild and less unfavorable for Seoul as Cha is deemed rational and low-key character and supports the idea of incentives for negotiations with the North.
By Lee Jin-myung
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