June 28, 2018

Senate Confirms Admiral Harry Harris As Next U.S. Ambassador to South Korea

Follows Hirono Advocacy to Fill Critical Diplomatic Post for North Korea Negotiations

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Senate unanimously confirmed the nomination of former Commander of U.S. Pacific Command Admiral Harry Harris (Ret.) to serve as the next U.S. Ambassador to South Korea. Earlier this month, Senator Hirono introduced Admiral Harris at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which reported his nomination favorably to the full Senate. 

“Admiral Harris is a tough-minded and experienced leader with a strong military background and deep existing diplomatic relationships with our key ally South Korea and the full range of stakeholders in the Indo-Pacific region,” Senator Hirono said. “The Senate today affirmed our confidence in Admiral Harris to serve as our Ambassador to South Korea at a time when our country must closely coordinate with our ally as we begin continue negotiations with North Korea to secure its complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization.”

Senator Hirono led efforts to fill the position which had been vacant for over 19 months. In September 2017, Hirono led a letter to President Trump urging him send his nominee for Senate approval. On May 18, 2018, President Trump nominated Admiral Harris to be Ambassador to South Korea.

Senator Hirono has been a lead advocate for filling important Defense and State Department positions handling Indo-Pacific security and diplomatic affairs. Senator Hirono’s September 2017 letter also called on President Trump to fill the vacancies for Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs and Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs. On December 20, 2017, the Senate unanimously confirmed Randy Schriver to be Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs. On President Trump nominated career diplomat and Acting Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Susan Thornton to fill the role permanently. Her nomination awaits a final vote by the full Senate.