Kamala Harris to visit DMZ amid tensions over North Korean missile launch


US Vice President Kamala Harris will visit the demilitarized zone that divides North and South Korea on Thursday, after Pyongyang fired two ballistic missiles into waters off the east coast.

Harris arrived in Asia this week to attend the funeral of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and also met with the heads of government of South Korea and Australia.

On Thursday, Yoon Suk Yeol met with South Korean President, with whom he was expected to discuss the threat posed by North Korea, the importance of “peace” in the Taiwan Strait, economic and technological cooperation and other regional issues. the white house

Harris also met a group of female industry leaders before going to the DMZ, often described as one of the most heavily armed borders in the world.

The DMZ has been the destination of US presidents and vice presidents on official visits to South Korea, where they have been photographed peering through binoculars into North Korean-controlled territory.

At the DMZ, Harris will meet service members as well as receive briefings from US commanders.

Harris’ visit comes a day after North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles from Pyongyang’s Sunan range, according to the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) in South Korea.

The missiles had a flight range of about 360 kilometers (224 miles), an altitude of 30 kilometers (19 miles) and a speed of about Mach 6, six times the speed of sound, the JCS said.

“The Army has strengthened its vigilance and surveillance and is maintaining a fully prepared posture while working closely with the US,” he said.

It is North Korea’s 20th missile launch this year, by CNN’s count, and follows another launch on Sept. 25, shortly before Harris arrived in the region.

Speaking aboard the USS Howard at Japan’s Yokosuka Naval Base on Wednesday, Harris criticized North Korea’s latest missile launches as “part of an illegal weapons program that threatens regional stability and violates multiple UN Security Council resolutions.”

At a news conference Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre declined to say whether the launch might coincide with Harris’ visit, saying the tests are “not unusual” for North Korea.

The US and South Korea have been conducting joint naval exercises with the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier since Monday.