In a series of meetings with Asian leaders on Tuesday, Vice President Kamala Harris underscored the importance of the United States’ commitment to regional security, and the White House announced that she would visit the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) between the Koreas. At the end of her official trip to Asia, Harris is scheduled to visit the border between South Korea and North Korea on Thursday. North Korea’s missile and nuclear programs continue to raise concerns. Harris’ visit takes place at a time when these concerns are persistent.
In her meetings with Asian leaders on Tuesday, Vice President Kamala Harris underscored the United States’ commitment to regional security. In addition, the White House announced that she would visit the Korean Demilitarized Zone.#KamalaHarris #AsiaTrip #security #AsianLeaders pic.twitter.com/btvZBsXE99
— Live News Now (@LiveNewsNow6) September 27, 2022
In response to the United States and South Korean joint military exercises that included the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier U.S.S. Ronald Reagan, North Korea successfully tested a short-range ballistic missile shortly before Harris left Washington. As part of her visit to the DMZ in August, US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi paid a visit to the area, and former U.S. President Donald Trump also visited in 2019 as part of his meeting with North Korean President Kim Jong Un.
During a meeting with South Korean Prime Minister Han Duck-soo on Tuesday, Harris’ plan, which she had kept under wraps throughout the process, was unexpectedly revealed to the Prime Minister. After the meeting, White House officials rushed to confirm the details of the visit. Under the anonymity condition, an official confirmed that Harris would tour the DMZ, receive a briefing regarding border operations from U.S. commanders and meet with service members.
Shinzo Abe State Funeral
Additionally, she will reminisce on the sacrifices of thousands of American and Korean soldiers during the seven decades-long war that divided the peninsula. The former prime minister, Shinzo Abe, who was assassinated in July, is among those whose state funeral Harris is attending. Harris has emphasized the importance of security ties during her time in Tokyo. During her meeting with Han, she described the U.S.-South Korean alliance as a linchpin of regional security and prosperity.
She responded to threats, “We stand with you.” Harris met with Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese the following day to discuss their shared commitment to peace and security. The conversations follow Harris’ meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Monday, shortly after arriving in Tokyo. Moreover, the U.S. alliance with Japan, Harris emphasized, is “an integral part of our belief that peace, stability, and prosperity are integral parts of the region’s future.”
The meeting with Kishida was also marked by confusion, similar to Harris’ abrupt disclosure of her trip to the DMZ. Harris’s staff tried to eject reporters from the room while he was still speaking. It was difficult for her office to finalize a transcript of her exact remarks due to the commotion, which drowned out some of her comments.
In addition to concerns about North Korea, Taiwan, which China considers part of its territory, has also been the subject of increased tensions. In a recent statement, President Biden stated that the United States would send troops to defend Taiwan if China attacked it. Earlier on Saturday, China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, said any attempt to thwart Taiwan’s reunification would be defeated by history.
Harris to Visit Korean Demilitarized Zone
An official at the White House announced that Harris would visit the Korean Demilitarized Zone (KDZ) on Thursday as part of her official trip to South Korea. She will visit the DMZ, meet with service members, and receive an operational briefing from U.S. commanders. During this trip, Harris reiterates the United States’ commitment to stand alongside South Korea against “any threats” posed by North Korea.
As the official explained, Harris “will reflect on the sacrifices of tens of thousands of American soldiers and Korean soldiers who fought and died alongside each other, reaffirming the U.S. commitment to the defense of Korea.” DMZ is a 160-mile-long uninhabited area located approximately 30 miles north of Seoul, established by an armistice agreement signed during the Korean War in 1953. In many respects, it is widely considered the most heavily armed border in the world.
Reporters traveling with Harris as she led a U.S. delegation to Japan for Shinzo Abe’s funeral first learned of Harris’ visit during a bilateral meeting with South Korean Prime Minister Han Duck-soo. A report from the pool indicates that the prime minister told Harris that her visit to the DMZ and Seoul would be a symbolic demonstration of her strong commitment to the security and peace of the Korean Peninsula. He also said that his country is working with the U.S. to deal with North Korea.
Prime Minister Unexpected Announcement
Neither reporters nor White House aides was prepared for the unexpected announcement by the prime minister. The stop was confirmed to reporters by an official later in the day. Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House, announced last month that a congressional delegation had visited the Korean Demilitarized Zone. It was an honor for the delegation to be hosted at a parliamentary meeting. It was a pleasure to meet with Korea’s President Yoon Suk-yeol by telephone to reaffirm our commitment to the U.S.-Korea alliance.
Read Also: North Korea Slams South’s Offer of Aid for Denuclearization