US Vice President Kamala Harris will visit the tightly guarded Demilitarized Zone this week when she travels to South Korea, the White House said on Tuesday.
According to a White House official, Harris will go to the DMZ on Thursday. Harris is presently in Tokyo to attend the state funeral of the murdered former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe.
North Korea, which referred to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as the “greatest destroyer of world peace” when she visited the DMZ in August, is sure to respond angrily to the decision.
After the allies conducted their first joint naval practice in the vicinity of the peninsula in five years on Monday, Pyongyang issued a warning that South Korea and the United States ran the danger of starting a war.
According to the US source, Harris’s trip to the demilitarized zone (DMZ) would “underscore… the United States’ determination to stand behind (South Korea) in the face of any threats presented by” North Korea.
According to the official, Harris would “reflect on the shared sacrifice” of US and Korean troops who died in the Korean War, which ended in 1953 with a truce that divided the peninsula.
Before Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s burial on Tuesday, which many international leaders will attend, Harris landed in Japan on Monday.
During their Tuesday meeting in Tokyo, South Korean Prime Minister Han Duck-soo and Harris agreed that the DMZ visit would be a “very significant show of your strong pledges to the security and peace of the Korean Peninsula.”
This year, North Korea launched a record-breaking flurry of weapons tests, including the first intercontinental ballistic missile launch since 2017.
According to officials in Washington and Seoul, the United States has repeatedly warned that North Korea is ready to conduct what would be its seventh nuclear test, a move that would result in a “swift and robust” reaction.
After years of unsuccessful negotiation with North Korea under his predecessor, South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol, who took office in May, has pledged to intensify joint military exercises with the United States.
The multinational naval drill “was organized to display the strong resolve of the South Korea-US alliance to react to North Korean provocations,” the South Korean military said on Monday.