As the top commander of the U.S. military forces in the Pacific, Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr. has been such an outspoken China hawk that he was reportedly subject to a gag order by the Obama administration and targeted with a smear campaign by Chinese state media.
Now, Harris is set to become a key player in the Trump administration’s attempts to craft a diplomatic deal with an even more hostile and threatening East Asia power: North Korea.
Harris is expected to be nominated to fill the long-vacant ambassadorship to South Korea, one of new Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s first decisions last week. The move, just weeks before President Trump is planning to meet with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, could thrust the 61-year-old Japanese American into the weighty role of translating Trump’s unpredictable strategy to a Korean Peninsula that has been whipsawed between war threats and, more recently, talk of historic peace.
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