A day after North Korea test-fired two of its banned ballistic missiles, US Vice President Kamala Harris and South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol condemned Pyongyang’s “provocative nuclear rhetoric.”
Yoon and Harris also asserted their commitment to the complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. Harris vowed to strengthen ties to South Korea, calling relations between the two countries “a linchpin of security and prosperity on the Korean peninsula.”
Also Vowing to strengthen the alliance, Yoon called Harris’ visit “another turning point” in achieving that goal.
Harris visits DMZ
On her trip to South Korea, Harris will make her first visit to the heavily fortified Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) that divides the Korean Peninsula. The US vice president is on her four-day trip to Asia emphasizing the US commitment to the security of its Asian allies.
Her visit to the heavily fortified border comes amid concerns that North Korea may conduct a nuclear test. This year, Pyongyang has conducted record-level of missile testing.
North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles on Wednesday while Harris was visiting Japan, where she attended the funeral of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
The meeting between Harris and Yoon was expected to be dominated by growing concerns over North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and the US commitments to protect the South.
During her visit to Japan, Harris criticized North Korea’s “illicit weapons program.”
It is speculated that Pyongyang may beef up its weapons demonstrations in its effort to pressure the US into accepting it as a nuclear power.
mf/sms (AP, AFP, Reuters)