U.S. Pacific commander named Australia envoy

ReutersWASHINGTON (Reuters) — U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday named U.S. Pacific Commander Admiral Harry Harris, who is known for his hawkish views on China’s military expansion, as his pick to serve as the American ambassador to Australia, the White House said.

The naval officer has served in the military for 39 years and is in his seventh command assignment as head of the U.S. Pacific Command, according to the White House.

During Harris’ tenure as head of U.S. forces in the Pacific, tensions over North Korea’s missile and nuclear programs increased as Trump’s administration and Pyongyang exchanged threats.

Harris, who was appointed by former President Barack Obama, favors diplomacy in countering North Korea’s missile threat.

Harris is also known for his combative views on Beijing’s South China Sea expansion and a strong supporter of so-called freedom of navigation operations under which U.S. ships and aircraft challenge other countries’ maritime claims.

He upset China by dubbing its construction of islands and building-up of military facilities in the South China Sea as a “great wall of sand.”Speech

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