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Korean American nominated as senior Pentagon official

Posted April. 17, 2011 23:36,   


Korean American Philip Yun, vice president for resource development at the Asia Foundation, has been nominated as the U.S. Defense Department`s principal deputy assistant secretary for Asian and Pacific security affairs.

A diplomatic source in Washington said Saturday that Yun, a 52-year-old second-generation Korean American, will likely assume a post that supervises on a working-level basis the department’s security policy for Northeast Asia, including the Korean Peninsula, China and Japan. If appointed, he will replace Derek Mitchell, who has been nominated as the first U.S. special envoy to Myanmar.

Under the Clinton administration, Yun served as senior adviser to two assistant secretaries of state and deputy head of the U.S. delegation to the four-party talks on North Korea`s nuclear program. In May 1999, he also participated in the making of the “Perry Report” after visiting Pyongyang as a senior assistant to William Perry, then the U.S. point man on North Korea.

Born in Rhode Island to a father hailing from Yongbyon in present-day North Korea and a mother from Busan in South Korea, Yun graduated from Brown University and Columbia Law School. He once worked as an attorney for commercial transactions at a law firm in Seoul. In addition, he worked for the election campaigns of Democratic Party presidential candidates such as Walter Mondale, Michael Dukakis and Bill Clinton.

Yun’s nomination completes the forming of the Korean Peninsula group of specialists under the U.S. diplomacy and national security team. Daniel Russell, director for Asian affairs, has been nominated for senior director for Asian affairs in the White House National Security Council.

Mark Lippert, a former chief of staff of the council, will take over as the Pentagon`s assistant secretary for Asia-Pacific security affairs.

Other senior officials are also Korean American in addition to Yun, including Sung Kim, special envoy for the six-party talks on North Korea’s denuclearization, and Joseph Y. Yun (no relation), the deputy assistant secretary in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, the U.S. Department of State.