The South China Morning Post(SCMP) reported on Wednesday that ranking congressman Ed Royce and former U.S. Forces Korea chief James Thurman have emerged as strong candidates to be the new U.S. ambassador to Seoul.
The Hong Kong-based daily quoted sources with knowledge on the matter as saying that U.S. President Donald Trump is reviewing the possibility of appointing Thurman or Royce, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, as the occupant of the long-vacant post.
The sources said the two have been considered as candidates for the position since Victor Cha, who is the Korea Chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies(CSIS) in Washington, was withdrawn from consideration in late January.
A source told the SCMP that Thurman’s participation as part of the U.S. delegation to the PyeongChang Winter Olympics is a good signal that he is being considered for the job.
Royce, who declared in January that he will not run for the midterm elections in November, also accompanied U.S. Vice President Mike Pence to the PyeongChang Games.
Another source said the White House is considering the two as candidates, but has yet to make a final decision.