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Washington working to nominate ambassador to Seoul at early date: Foreign ministry official
Updated: 2021-12-20 17:26:11 KST
An official from South Korea's foreign ministry said Monday that Washington is working to nominate a new ambassador to Seoul at an early date as some raise concerns about the Biden administration's delay in doing so.
The position has been vacant for 11 months now since the start of the new U.S. administration and the resignation of former ambassador Harry Harris in January.
It does typically take several months to nominate a new envoy and get Senate approval, but some are worried because it's been almost a year and there's not even a list of nominees.

"It's up to President Biden. He's prioritizing internal issues including the Covid-19 sitation and China issues externally. So the nomination process is being pushed to the side."

He added that the lack of an ambassador is especially concerning when there are many issues to deal with on the Korean Peninsula, including the frozen denuclearization talks and declaring a formal end to the Korean War.
U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff has also called on President Biden to swiftly make a nomination, saying in a letter last week that it's an urgent task in strengthening ties between the allies.
Experts also point out that similar concerns are being raised in the capitals of other American allies.

"The U.S. hasn't nominated ambassadors to other close allies either, including the UK and Italy. Delays are piling up in the State Department's nomination process."

In his comments, though, the official from Seoul's foreign ministry emphasized that Washington is working to appoint an envoy as soon as possible, and that the South Korea-U.S. alliance is still as strong as ever and developing into a comprehensive, global one.
Kim Dami, Arirang News.
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