Vice President Harris to visit DMZ during South Korea trip
Vice President Kamala Harris will visit the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) during her trip to South Korea on Thursday, U.S. and South Korean officials said.
Why it matters: Harris will become the most-senior Biden administration official to visit the DMZ.
- She will visit just days after North Korea conducted another ballistic missile test and amid fears that Pyongyang is preparing its first nuclear weapons test since 2017.
What they're saying: South Korean Prime Minister Han Duck-soo first announced the vice president's DMZ trip during a meeting with Harris on Tuesday, saying, "I think your visit to DMZ in Seoul is a real — a very symbolic demonstration of your strong commitment to the security and peace on the Korean Peninsula."
- The trip was later confirmed by a White House official, who said in a statement "the visit will underscore the strength of the U.S.-ROK Alliance, and the United States’ commitment to stand beside the ROK in the face of any threats posed by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK)."
- "The Vice President will tour sites at the DMZ, meet with service members, and receive an operational briefing from U.S. commanders," the official added.
The big picture: North Korea fired a short-range ballistic missile off its east coast into the sea on Sunday — its first ballistic missile test since this summer, when it launched eight short-range missiles, the New York Times reports.
- U.S. and South Korean officials have warned for months that North Korea appears to be preparing its seventh nuclear weapons test.
- A U.S. carrier strike group launched joint military exercises with the South Korean navy on Monday after arriving on the peninsula late last week.
- North Korea's ambassador to the United Nations condemned the drills in a speech to the General Assembly on Monday.