President to Name Korea Ambassador

from a Times Staff Writer

President Reagan intends to name James R. Lilly, a career diplomat, as ambassador to South Korea, replacing a political appointee who has held the post since 1981, Administration sources said Thursday.

Lilly, 58, is now serving as deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs. He will replace Richard L. Walker, 64, a former University of South Carolina professor.

The change in U.S. representation in Seoul, a major embassy in the Pacific region, could spark new friction between the Administration and conservative Republicans in the Senate.

Walker was appointed on the recommendation of Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-S.C.) and has been strongly supported by Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.), senior Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee.

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