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Obama Names Russel as Top East Asia Diplomat

Daniel Russel (R) with former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and Pacific Affairs, Kurt Campbell, in Tokyo, Jan. 17, 2013.
The Obama administration has appointed Danny Russel, a senior Asia adviser, to be Washington's top diplomat for East Asia.

The White House announced Russel's nomination to be Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia in a statement late Wednesday.

Russel, who will need to be confirmed by the Senate, previously served as the top Asia advisor in the Obama White House. He also served as the State Department's top official on Japan.

If confirmed, he will take over the post from long-time diplomat Kurt Campbell, who stepped down in February to become CEO of a strategic advisory and investment group.

The change comes as the White House moves forward with its strategic economic and military pivot toward the Asia-Pacific, which was announced by President Obama in late 2011.

It also follows a period of heightened tensions with North Korea over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.