Mark Lippert to be named new U.S. ambassador to S. Korea: sourcesUpdated: 2014-05-02 22:01:31 (KST)
Mark Lippert, one of U.S. President Barack Obama's oldest and closest aides, has been nominated to be the United States' next ambassador to South Korea.
Multiple diplomatic sources say the U.S. government notified Seoul of the impending announcement during President Obama's visit to the nation last week.
If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Lippert will replace the current ambassador, Sung Kim, in the second half of the year.
Kim, who's three-year term is nearing an end, is expected to return to the State Department in September.
As for Lippert's credentials, the 41-year-old is currently Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel's chief of staff.
At the age of 32, he became the foreign policy advisor to then-Senator Barack Obama.
Four years later he was appointed as National Security Council chief of staff, and in 2012 as Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs.
Experts anticipate that Lippert will strengthen relations between Seoul and Washington.
Former Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell was quoted as saying that South Korea would be lucky to have Lippert, who is close to the president, as U.S. ambassador.
Lippert is expected to focus on bolstering trilateral cooperation between the U.S., Korea and Japan, with an emphasis on rebalancing power through stronger security ties.
The aim would also be to prevent China from taking the lead in North Korea-related matters, such as when it comes to countering threats out of Pyongyang.
According to Pentagon officials, Lippert believes that security cooperation and historical disputes should be approached separately.
This could be a concern to Korea, due to sensitivity over Tokyo's interpretation of history and territorial claims.
Nevertheless, South Korea's embassy has welcomed Lippert's nomination, as he has a good reputation among diplomats in the country.
Kwon Soa, Arirang News.
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