The US Senate has confirmed a man nominated to be the senior State Department official in charge of Japan and other east Asian nations.
Former US Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel Kritenbrink was confirmed as the Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs by a majority vote on Thursday.
Kritenbrink was previously a senior advisor on North Korea policy at the State Department and the Senior Director for Asian Affairs at the National Security Council.
He also worked at the US Embassies in Tokyo and Beijing. He is fluent in Japanese and Chinese.
Kritenbrink is known as an expert on Japan.
At a Senate hearing in June, he spoke about his policy priorities. They include the strengthening of ties with Japan, South Korea, and the ASEAN members; beating China in strategic competitions; and reducing the threat of North Korea’s nuclear and missile development programs.
The confirmations of about 80 senior State Department nominees are pending before the Senate, as the Democrats do not have a clear edge in the voting process.
On September 14, Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged the Senate to move swiftly to confirm all pending nominees and to address what he called a significant disruption in national security policymaking.