During a trip to the Demilitarized Zone dividing the Korean Peninsula and North Korea on Thursday, Kamala Harris denounced the “brutal regime” in North Korea. The visit occurred hours after North Korea’s most recent round of ballistic missile launches and as worries mount that the regime will soon conduct a nuclear test. It was the culmination of Ms. Harris’ four-day tour to Asia and came amid rising regional tensions.
The North Korean government’s “provocative nuclear rhetoric and ballistic missile launches, in contravention of U.N. security council resolutions,” were denounced by Ms. Harris and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, according to the White House.
Ms. Harris demanded “a total denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula” and said that recent and increasingly bellicose activities are “destabilizing the peace and security of this area.”
She used the official term for South Korea, the Republic of Korea, saying, “We are reminded that the alliance between the United States and the Republic of Korea stands ready to confront any situation.” “I shall report that the United States’ commitment to the protection of the Republic of Korea is unwavering.”
While Ms. Harris was in Japan on Wednesday, North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles, and one more before she departed Washington on Sunday. The missile tests this year have reached a record high as a result of the launches, which are meant to bring North Korea one step closer to being recognized as a fully functional nuclear power.
The vice president’s final stop on her second trip to Asia as vice president was the buffer zone that separates the two Koreas. As rumors about U.S. President Biden’s intention to run for reelection in 2024 spread, the White House has taken additional steps to bolster the vice president’s ability to handle foreign policy.
Ms. Harris is the highest-ranking person to visit the demilitarized zone (DMZ) since Donald Trump and Kim Jong-meeting un’s in 2019. Senior officials and politicians now make pilgrimages to the demarcation zone as part of their diplomatic rites of passage.
Ms. Harris climbed a hill near guard towers and surveillance equipment in the DMZ. A South Korean officer pointed out military facilities on the southern side as she peered through large binoculars.
An American officer then pointed us some of the defenses, such as claymore mines and barbed-wire fences, along the military demarcation line. He claimed that American soldiers frequently patrol along a trail on foot. It’s really close, Ms. Harris said. The vice president afterwards went to one of a group of blue structures that crosses the line of demarcation, where an American officer described how talks with North Korea are still held there.
After the trip’s specifics were made public earlier this week, Republicans jumped on the vice president’s travel to the border between the two Koreas. Early in the administration, Ms. Harris was chosen to serve as Mr. Biden’s czar for the southern border of the United States.
Ms. Harris has been under fire for allegedly turning a blind eye to the migrant invasion situation at the U.S.-Mexico border, which has worsened during the Biden administration.
After the trip was made public, Texas Republican Rep. Ronnie Jackson tweeted, “Kamala is heading to the Korean DMZ to evaluate their border security.” Would asking her to come to our border be too much to ask?
Ms. Harris met with Mr. Yoon in his office in Seoul just before traveling to the DMZ and repeated the U.S. resolve to protect the South with the full breadth of its military power in the event of conflict, according to Mr. Yoon’s office.
They voiced alarm about North Korea’s nuclear war threats and promised a harsher reaction to significant North Korean provocations, such as a nuclear test, with no specifics.
Ms. Harris met with Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, South Korea’s Prime Minister Han Duck-soo, and Japan’s Fumio Kishida during her four-day visit to Japan and South Korea in an effort to “reaffirm the United States’ commitment to our allies in an increasingly complex security environment.”
During a visit to a U.S. Naval facility in Japan on Wednesday, the vice president denounced China’s recent “provocations” and vowed American support for Taiwan’s self-defense.
The vice president charged Beijing of undermining maritime freedom and using its “military and economic strength to force and threaten its neighbors” while speaking from the USS Howard at the Yokosuka Naval Base.
She said that despite Beijing’s “disturbing actions,” the United States is still unfazed and that it would “oppose any unilateral alteration to the status quo.”
She said that the U.S. will “continue to support Taiwan’s self-defense consistent with our long-standing policy” and that peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait were “important features of a free and open Indo-Pacific.”
After House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taipei in August, relations between the United States and China have been progressively worse.
The California Democrat was the highest-ranking American politician to visit Taiwan in decades, which prompted China to conduct a number of military drills around the 100-mile-off-the-Mainland island.
The White House has issued a warning that China’s response to the high-profile stopover may have long-lasting effects on U.S.-Chinese ties.
After Vice President Biden stated in an appearance on CBS’ “60 minutes” that American military would protect Taiwan in the event that China conducts “an unprecedented attack” on the self-governing island, tensions between the two countries grew earlier this week.
The United States has maintained the so-called “One China” policy under the Biden administration, even though it maintains informal diplomatic relations and close defense ties with the island democracy and does not formally recognize Chinese sovereignty over it. Washington has long acknowledged Beijing’s position that Taiwan is a part of China.
The White House quickly declared that American policy toward China had not altered following the airing of the interview. The United States is still “committed to the ideals we have long espoused,” Ms. Harris told reporters on Wednesday.
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