- REUTERS/Carlos Barria
- The White House reportedly passed on a top candidate for US ambassador to South Korea.
- Victor Cha was no longer being considered after he reportedly disagreed with some of President Donald Trump’s policies on North and South Korea.
- Cha served as director for for Asian affairs for the National Security Council for President George W. Bush.
The White House is expected to pass on its original candidate for US ambassador to South Korea after he appeared to disagree with President Donald Trump’s policy on North Korea, the Washington Post reported on Tuesday.
“We have yet to nominate anyone for the post, but it is our intention to do so as soon as we can find the appropriate candidate,” an official said to The Post.
Victor Cha, who served as director for Asian affairs for the National Security Council during the George W. Bush administration, is arguably one of the leading experts on the Korean peninsula.
Cha reportedly disagreed with Trump’s National Security Council officials, who considered the possibility of a striking North Korea in a “bloody nose” attack – a limited strike intended to send a message to the regime.
Cha was also reportedly at odds with Trump’s stance on the US’ “horrible” trade deal with South Korea, which the president called unfair and proposed scrapping.
The Trump administration originally floated Cha’s candidacy in August, and notified South Korea of its intent to select Cha for the position in December. But as weeks went by, the approval process, which includes a thorough background check, raised eyebrows as no official announcement had been made.
“It’s inconceivable that there would be anything so complex in the portfolio of an academic that wouldn’t be quickly resolved,” a former official said in The Post.
If the White House’s decision to pass on Cha’s nomination was primarily founded upon his opposition to a limited strike on North Korea, the Trump administration’s may be signaling that it is seriously considering the possibility of a “bloody nose” attack, or at the very least, seeking a candidate with a more hawkish stance on the regime.