Kamala visits Korean border, hardens US speech against Pyongyang


On a tour of Asia, US Vice President Kamala Harris was in South Korea on Thursday (29) and raised her voice against the regime in neighboring North Korea. “A country with a brutal dictatorship, an illegal weapons program and human rights violations,” she said, referring to the dictatorship led by Kim Jong-un.

Harris was in the demilitarized zone that divides the two countries — over 240 kilometers long, the area was created in the 1950s. Pyongyang to carry out new missile launches.

The reason behind Washington’s caution came now, during the deputy’s visit. According to Seoul and Tokyo, the North Korean regime fired two ballistic missiles shortly after Harris’ departure, in what would be the third launch in less than a week.

In the demilitarized zone, Biden’s deputy observed the North Korean border terrain with binoculars and received information from South Korean and American soldiers. He told reporters the region would be a testament to the “dramatically different” patterns that divide the two Koreas.

He continued: “The US and the world seek a stable and peaceful Korean Peninsula where North Korea is no longer a threat.” To the American newspaper The New York Times, he gave statements that express the close ties with Seoul. “We will continue with our allies.”

Photos from the moment show the presence of North Korean guards in protective suits on the other side of the demilitarized zone watching the vice president’s visit, which comes amid fears that Pyongyang will carry out a new nuclear test.

Seoul says the neighboring dictatorship has ended preparations for what would be the seventh such test — the last one in 2017.

Harris had talks with South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol, who was sworn in in May. Later statements by the two governments criticized the nuclear rhetoric and the jump in the number of missile exercises carried out by North Korea.

“Leaders discussed a joint response to potential future provocations, including actions in cooperation with Japan,” read a White House statement. Kamala also spoke about the “strong commitment to South Korea”. “Our commitment is supported by all US military capabilities.”

The two partners want “the complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula”, but are “prepared to face obstacles”, he continued.

Seoul said that if the neighboring nation’s provocations, such as nuclear tests, were followed, the country would, together with the US, immediately implement what it called “countermeasures” – without detailing what they would be.

The US has around 28,500 troops in South Korea to help protect the country from its northern neighbor. This week, the two allies will resume joint naval exercises.

Kamala arrived in Seoul after attending the state funeral in Tokyo for former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was murdered in early July during a campaign rally in the city of Nara.

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