US Vice President Harris visited the demilitarized zone on the South Korea-North Korea border and criticized Pyongyang’s weapons program.
At a steep hilltop observation post overlooking North Korea today, US Vice President Kamala Harris peered through bulky binoculars, as US and South Korean soldiers pointed out features, including defense systems. prime, in the region. “Very close,” she said.
Harris also visited the Panmunjom Armistice Village, where former US President Donald Trump met North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in 2019, and chatted with US troops in the Joint Security Area.
On the North Korean side, soldiers wearing protective suits can be seen as Ms. Harris stands at the demarcation line between the two countries. Speaking at the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), Ms. Harris said US and South Korean troops were “standing shoulder to shoulder to maintain the security and stability of this area”.
The US vice president reaffirmed Washington’s commitment to South Korea’s defense is “sustainable”, adding that the two countries have coordinated in responding to the growing threat from North Korea’s weapons program. “We want the complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, but in the immediate future we are ready to deal with any eventuality,” she said.
During an 85-minute meeting at President Yoon Suk-yeol’s office in Seoul earlier in the day, Harris and Yoon shared concerns about North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.
“President Yoon and Vice President Harris expressed serious concern about North Korea’s recent ballistic missile launches, as well as the country’s legalization of its nuclear force policy,” the deputy spokesman said. The president, Lee Jae-myoung, said, noting that Harris reaffirmed the US commitment to the defense of South Korea.
The two sides also agreed to plan a visit to the US by Mr. Yoon next year to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the alliance.
Harris’ visit to the demilitarized zone on the border between North and South Korea is expected to infuriate North Korea. When US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the region in August, North Korea criticized her as “the worst destroyer of international peace”.
Shortly before Harris’s visit, North Korea conducted two ballistic missile launches on September 25 and 28.
Huyen Le (Theo Reuters, AFP, Yonhap)