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Former PACOM commander Adm. Harry Harris is new US ambassador to South Korea

Adm. Harry Harris, Commander, U.S. Pacific Command, speaks at the U.S. Army Pacific Change of Command May 4, at Fort Shafter, Hawaii. Outgoing USARPAC Commander, Gen. Vincent Brooks assumed command of U.S. Forces Korea, Combined Forces Command and United Nations April 30, and Gen. Robert Brown officially assumed command of USARPAC during the ceremony. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Hubenthal)
July 05, 2018

The U.S. Senate recently unanimously approved retired Navy Adm. Harry Harris, the former head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (PACOM), to serve as the U.S. Ambassador to South Korea.

Harris will fill a critical ambassadorial appointment that has been vacant for 17 months, since January 2017. The former U.S. Ambassador to South Korea was Mark Lippert.

“I have known Harry Harris for many years in his service to the U.S. Navy. I trust his judgment and remain confident that he always has the best interest of the United States and Hawaii in his heart when he is interacting with our partners and allies in the Asia Pacific,” Sen. Brian Schatz said, The Diplomat reported.

“Ambassador Harris will help guide U.S. policy in the crucial months ahead as the United States continues to pursue diplomacy with North Korea and ensure that the U.S.-Republic of Korea alliance remains strong,” Schatz added.

Harris was a common critic of China’s island building in the South China Sea, according to the Star Advertiser.

Harris stepped down in May from PACOM.

The day he left, U.S. Pacific Command was renamed the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command to reflect evolving priorities, including closer ties with India and a “great power” competition with China.

Adm. Phil Davidson became the new head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command.