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Helvey to fill in as top Pentagon official for East Asia

Defense 01:32 December 18, 2019

By Lee Haye-ah

WASHINGTON, Dec. 17 (Yonhap) -- David Helvey, the No. 2 Pentagon official for East Asia, will fill in for departing Assistant Secretary Randall Schriver beginning in the new year, a U.S. defense official said Tuesday.

Helvey, currently the principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for Indo-Pacific security affairs, will serve in an acting capacity as the top Pentagon official for the region pending the nomination of a new assistant secretary, the official told Yonhap News Agency on condition of anonymity.

The Pentagon announced Schriver's departure last week, saying the past two years in an intense role have taken a toll on his family and he is looking to move on to another position.

This EPA file photo shows David Helvey, U.S. principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for Indo-Pacific security affairs. (Yonhap)

The official said he does not expect the vacancy to be formally filled any time soon, and that the administration is "not in a huge rush," given that Helvey is "equally intelligent" as Schriver and has prior experience on the issues.

Helvey served as the acting assistant secretary for a year before Schriver assumed his position in January 2018. Prior to that, he was a senior adviser, performing the duties of his current role, from June 2016 to January 2017, and deputy assistant secretary for East Asia from December 2012 to April 2015.

Speaking at a public forum in October, Helvey called on South Korea to renew its military intelligence-sharing pact with Japan, citing the importance of trilateral security cooperation in the face of regional threats.

He also emphasized President Donald Trump's commitment to getting allies to contribute more to shared defense costs.

Last month, South Korea announced it is "conditionally" renewing the General Security of Military Information Agreement with Japan pending bilateral talks on their trade dispute stemming from differences over wartime history.

Meanwhile, negotiations between Seoul and Washington have continued to renew their cost-sharing agreement for the upkeep of 28,500 American troops stationed in South Korea.

hague@yna.co.kr
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