Disagreement on North Korea policy derails White House choice for ambassador to South Korea

By David Nakamura, Anne Gearan
January 30, 2018

The White House’s original choice for U.S. ambassador to South Korea is no longer expected to be nominated after he privately expressed disagreement in late December with the Trump administration’s North Korea policy, according to people familiar with the matter.

Victor D. Cha, an academic who served in the George W. Bush administration, raised his concerns with National Security Council officials over their consideration of a limited strike on the North aimed at sending a message without sparking a wider war — a risky concept known as a “bloody nose” strategy.

Cha also objected to the administration’s threats to tear up a bilateral trade deal with Seoul that President Trump has called unfair to American companies. Last week, the administration imposed new tariffs on imports of washing machines and solar energy panels, a move criticized by the South Korean government.

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