HomeWorldVice President Kamala Harris visits the DMZ after North Korea's missile launch

Vice President Kamala Harris visits the DMZ after North Korea’s missile launch


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Vice President Kamala Harris is visiting the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) that bisects the Korean peninsula on Thursday as the vice president’s trip to Asia concludes.

The heavily fortified buffer zone separating North and South Korea is Harris’ last stop on the diplomatic trip. The gesture of visiting the DMZ is designed to illustrate America’s “rock-solid commitment” to regional security, according to White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.

The vice president is expected to discuss North Korea’s nuclear threats and Washington’s commitment to assist South Korea with defense measures. Shortly before the DMZ visit, Harris met with South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol, praising the US-South Korea alliance as a “pillar of security and prosperity.”

Vice President Kamala Harris shakes hands with South Korean President Yoon Suk-Yeol before their bilateral meeting in Seoul on September 29, 2022.
(LEAH MILLIS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

She and Yoon also discussed South Korea’s economic and technological partnerships with the United States on Thursday, in addition to a roundtable discussion on gender equality.

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The visit comes a day after North Korea fired a third ballistic missile into the sea in an act of provocation by Kim Jong-Un. The country has previously fired two short-range ballistic missiles during Harris’ stay in Japan.

North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles into the waters off its eastern coast, ratcheting up tensions a day before Vice President Kamala Harris's visit to the demilitarized zone dividing the two Koreas.

North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles into the waters off its eastern coast, ratcheting up tensions a day before Vice President Kamala Harris’s visit to the demilitarized zone dividing the two Koreas.
(SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

North Korea also made a similar gesture in June by firing a trio of missiles ahead of President Biden’s visit to Seoul that month.

Harris condemned North Korea’s “illicit weapons program” during a speech Wednesday at US Fleet Activities in Yokosuka, a US naval base.

Jean-Pierre said North Korea’s missile test was “not unusual” on Wednesday and said it would not deter Harris from visiting the DMZ.

“As you know, North Korea has a history of doing this kind of testing,” he said.

Vice President Kamala Harris holds a bilateral meeting with South Korean Prime Minister Han Duck-soo in Tokyo on September 27, 2022.

Vice President Kamala Harris holds a bilateral meeting with South Korean Prime Minister Han Duck-soo in Tokyo on September 27, 2022.
(False images)

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South Korean activists were seen protesting against Harris’ visit near the presidential office in Seoul on Thursday. Protesters wore masks showing the faces of Harris and President Yoon as they protested against the US-South Korea alliance.

Activists wear masks showing the faces of Vice President Kamala Harris and South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol during a protest against Harris's visit and the South Korea-U.S. alliance near the Presidential Office in Seoul on September 29, 2022.

Activists wear masks showing the faces of Vice President Kamala Harris and South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol during a protest against Harris’s visit and the South Korea-U.S. alliance near the Presidential Office in Seoul on September 29, 2022.
(ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP via Getty Images)

Harris’ visit has also drawn criticism from Republicans who say she has neglected the migration crisis at the US-Mexico border.

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Following the DMZ visit, Harris will depart Osan Air Base and fly back to Joint Base Andrews in Maryland.

Associated Press contributed to this report.



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