Sen. Chris Coons joined 17 of his Senate colleagues in expressing serious concern over the continued absence of a U.S. Ambassador to South Korea and asking for justification on the reported removal from consideration of a highly qualified candidate, Victor Cha, for that position.

The senators also warned against the potential consequences of a preemptive military strike on North Korea and the risks of miscalculation and retaliation.

In a letter to President Donald Trump, the senators emphasized the need for diplomatic leadership, stating, “The challenge posed by North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs is perhaps the most significant foreign policy challenge our nation has faced in decades. It is therefore shocking that the administration — a full year into its term — has yet to formally nominate someone to be the ambassador, which is the highest-ranking U.S. government official in South Korea. It is equally disturbing that the individual being considered for this position, Dr. Victor Cha, who has extensive qualifications and experience, has been removed from consideration after receiving Agrément from South Korea.”