Monday, July 2, 2012

U.S. Senate confirms Mitchell ambassador to Burma

Monday, 02 July 2012 14:03 Mizzima News

The U.S. Senate has unanimously confirmed the appointment of Derek Mitchell as the first U.S. ambassador to Burma in 22 years. In exchange, Burma will now send a full ambassador to Washington, officials said.

Relations between the two countries began improving quickly following the trip of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Naypyitaw in December 2011.

US Special Representative and Policy Coordinator for Burma Derek Mitchell talks to the media during a press conference at the US Embassy in Rangoon on March 15, 2012. Photo: AFP

Mitchell received a master of arts in law and diplomacy degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in 1991 and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia in 1986. He studied Chinese language at Nanjing University in China and speaks Mandarin Chinese proficiently.

He has authored numerous books, articles, and opinion pieces on Asian security affairs, and is coauthor of China: The Balance Sheet—What the World Needs to Know Now about the Emerging Superpower (Public Affairs, 2006), and China’s Rise: Challenges and Opportunities (Peterson Institute for International Economics Press, 2008).

Prior to his current appointment, Mitchell served as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, Asian and Pacific Security Affairs, in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, from April 2009 until August 2011. In that capacity, he was responsible for overseeing the Defense Department’s security policy in Northeast, Southeast, South and Central Asia.

Before joining the Obama Administration, he was a senior fellow and director of the Asia Division of the International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

He was special assistant for Asian and Pacific affairs in the Office of the Secretary of Defense from 1997 to 2001, when he served alternately as senior country director for China, Taiwan, Mongolia, and Hong Kong (2000–2001), director for regional security affairs (1998–2000), country director for Japan (1997–1998), and senior country director for the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, and Singapore (1998–1999). Mitchell was the principal author of the Department of Defense 1998 East Asia Strategy Report.

Prior to government service, Mitchell served as senior program officer for Asia and the former Soviet Union at the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs in Washington, D.C. From 1986 to 1988, he served as assistant to the senior foreign policy adviser to Sen. Edward M. Kennedy.

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