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Kamala Harris will visit the DMZ on Thursday

Vice President Kamala Harris will visit the demilitarized zone separating North and South Korea later this week, the White House confirmed Tuesday.

Details of the visit, which had not been previously confirmed, were announced by South Korean Prime Minister Han Duck-soo in his remarks after meeting with the vice president in Tokyo.

Mr. Han described the visit as a “symbolic demonstration” of the US commitment to security and peace on the Korean peninsula.
The White House later confirmed the details of the visit, which will take place on Thursday.

Using the acronym for South Korea’s formal name, the ROK, US officials said the visit “will underscore the strength of the US-Korea Alliance.

“The vice president will tour sites in the DMZ, meet with service members and receive an operational briefing from US commanders,” the White House said in a statement.

It will also “reflect on the shared sacrifice of tens of thousands of American and Korean soldiers who fought and died together, and reaffirm that the United States’ commitment to the defense of the Republic of Korea is unwavering,” the statement said.

Senior administration officials said the purpose of the trip is to “reaffirm America’s commitment to our allies in an increasingly complex security environment” and “deepen our overall engagement in the Indo-Pacific,” as well as honor Abe .

Ms. Harris arrived in Tokyo on Monday, where she is leading a US delegation to Japan to attend the funeral of slain former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday.

While in Japan, Ms. Harris is also scheduled to meet Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. She will meet with South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol in Seoul.

The vice president met Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida behind closed doors on Monday after landing in Tokyo.

In her post-meeting remarks, Ms. Harris said US security commitments to Japan remain “ironclad” amid rising tensions in the region.

“The Japan-US alliance is the cornerstone of what we believe to be an integral part of peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region,” he said. “We also think it’s what’s best for the American people.”

The high-profile visit to the region amid rising tensions across the Taiwan Strait comes on top of White House moves aimed at bolstering the vice president’s foreign policy skills, as speculation grows about whether President Biden He will seek re-election in 2024.

Ties between the United States and China have become increasingly strained after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan in August.

The California Democrat became the highest-ranking US official to visit Taiwan in decades, sparking a series of Chinese military exercises surrounding the island that lies 100 miles from the mainland.

The United States also faces rising tensions with an increasingly bellicose North Korea that has significantly increased weapons testing under the Biden administration.

On Sunday, North Korea launched a short-range ballistic missile in what South Korean officials said was a response to the arrival of the USS Ronald Reagan at the port of Busan.

The tall ship is taking part in joint military exercises with South Korea that began on Monday, the first such joint exercises between the two countries in five years.


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