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South Korean Populists Bristle at US Envoy’s Moustache

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A month ago, we published an article about Harry B. Harris, the US Ambassador to South Korea and a retired Navy Admiral, becoming the “the target of hatred” for pro-government and nationalist groups because of his unabashedly direct views.

First, let us remind you about the context. 4-star Admiral and former head of the US Pacific Command (USPACOM) Harry B. Harris (of Japanese descent on the mother’s side) was appointed to be the U.S. envoy to the ROK on 28 June 2019. From the very beginning, he became a source of irritation to progressives because of his Japanese roots and direct statements, many of which were made public despite being intended For Official Use Only (FOUO).

Since his job is to promote U.S. policies, Harry B. Harris is a tough supporter of increased funding for American troops stationed in South Korea, and of participation of the Republic of Korea Navy in joint military drills in the Middle East. He has criticized Seoul for its decision not to renew the GSOMIA (the General Security of Military Information Agreement), and thinks that Washington ought to at least be consulted on any “bold” initiatives aimed at improving relations between the two Koreas. Once, the Ambassador even posed the following question “Is it true that there are plenty of DPRK sympathizers around Moon Jae-in?”.

Recently, Harry B. Harris has yet again added fuel to the fire. At the end of December, he gave an in depth interview to the Korea Times, during which, in the author’s opinion, the Ambassador looked like a hard-line hawk.

In an interview with broadcaster KBS, which aired at the beginning of 2020, Harry B. Harris said South Korea got large amounts of energy from the Middle East and, therefore, hoped that the ROK would send forces out there.

Even such remarks elicited the “how dare he”-response. And still, on 16 January 2020, Harry B. Harris went even further with his comments. In an interview with international media, the diplomat stated: “South Korea should consult with the U.S. about its plans to engage with North........

© New Eastern Outlook