Glyn Davies, a former U.S. envoy for North Korean policy, was nominated by President Barack Obama as ambassador to Thailand to fill a position vacant for six months.
The White House announced the nomination on Monday. The Senate will have to approve the appointment. Many of Obama’s nominations, from judges to ambassadors, have been delayed by gridlock in the body, which has been controlled by Republicans since January.
Davies’s nomination comes amid difficult relations between the U.S. and Thailand following the military coup against the elected government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra in May last year. The Obama administration has criticized the military takeover, cut off some aid and called for a swift return to elections.
There are also tensions on the human rights front. The U.S. downgraded Thailand last June to the lowest possible rating in its annual trafficking-in-persons report, saying it didn’t meet the minimum standard for eliminating the crime. The government has said it has “intensified” its efforts to end the use of forced labor.
Davies is a career member of the U.S. foreign service and is now a senior adviser in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs at the Department of State. Prior to that he was Special Representative for North Korea Policy from 2012 to 2014. He served as the U.S. envoy to the United Nations and the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna from 2009 to 2012.