New Name Surfaces for Asian Affairs Post

From a Times Staff Writer

The White House today will announce the nomination of Richard Solomon as assistant secretary of state for East Asia and Pacific affairs, which would put him squarely in the middle of the FSX fighter plane dispute and other trade battles with Japan, Administration sources said.

Solomon, formerly director of the State Department’s Policy and Planning Bureau, speaks fluent Chinese and has a highly regarded academic reputation in Asian studies.

The East Asia job was expected to go to Richard L. Armitage, currently assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs. But Defense Secretary Dick Cheney asked Armitage to stay on in a senior role at the Pentagon, although he has not decided what that job will be.

Armitage is being considered for secretary of the Navy, secretary of the Army and other high-ranking positions, a Pentagon official said Thursday. No final decision has been made, however.