Foreign media reported that U.S. ambassador to South Korea Harry Harris expressed his wishes to resign after November. The U.S. embassy in Seoul has not strongly denied the claim, saying that Harris remains committed to strengthening the bilateral alliance, which has left many wondering what his next step would be.
“Harris does not plan to stay on beyond the November U.S. presidential election,” said Reuters quoting multiple sources. “He has expressed increasing frustration with the tensions and drama of his tenure.” Since the retired Navy admiral was appointed U.S. ambassador to South Korea in July 2018, the top diplomat has been involved in negotiations for the 10th and 11th Special Measures Agreements (SMA) and South Korea’s troop dispatch to the Strait of Hormuz. He was also engaged in the issues with the intelligence sharing pact between South Korea and Japan.
In a statement, William Coleman, the spokesperson of the U.S. embassy in Seoul, said that Harris was performing his duties given by President Donald Trump and wished to serve his country, adding that he remains committed to communicating not only with the South Korean government but also the excellent Korean public and the independent local media in order to strengthen the bilateral ties.
It is the custom for all ambassadors to be replaced if the incumbent president fails to be re-elected. Some in foreign policy circles suggest that Harris might have shown interest in other positions if he had expressed his wishes to resign after the first term. “It will be two years and four months since his appointment by November, and it would be nothing unusual if he moves to a different position,” said a source.
Na-Ri Shin email@example.com · Gi-Jae Han firstname.lastname@example.org