World

Harris focuses Asia trip on security

TOKYO –

In a post-meeting meeting with Asian leaders on Tuesday, Vice President Kamala Harris emphasized the US commitment to regional security and the White House revealed that she would visit the Demilitarized Zone dividing the two. rival Korea.

An official said Harris will tour the border area between South and North Korea on Thursday, at the end of a trip to Asia. The visit comes amid persistent concerns about North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.

North Korea test-fired a short-range ballistic missile shortly before Harris left Washington, an apparent response to joint US-South Korea military exercises that included nuclear-powered aircraft carriers. USS Ronald Reagan.

US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the DMZ in August, and then-President Donald Trump visited in 2019 when he met North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. President Joe Biden did not go when he was in South Korea earlier this year.

Harris’s plan, which has been kept secret by her team, was unexpectedly revealed during a meeting with South Korean Prime Minister Han Duck-soo on Tuesday. A White House official rushed to confirm details of her trip later.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Harris “will tour sites at the DMZ, meet with members of the military, and receive operational notifications from US commanders.”

She will also “reflect on the shared sacrifice of tens of thousands of American and North Korean soldiers who fought and died together” in the war that divided the peninsula seven decades ago.

According to the White House, Harris also spoke with Han about South Korean complaints about the Inflation Reduction Act, which makes electric cars manufactured outside of North America ineligible for government subsidies.

“They are committed to continuing to consult as the law is implemented,” the White House said.

Security concerns dominated Harris’s public remarks during her meetings in Tokyo, where she was attending the state funeral of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was assassinated in July.

While sitting down with Han, Harris said that the US alliance with South Korea is “the foundation of security and prosperity” in the region.

“We stand with you in the face of threats,” she said.

Harris then met with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, telling him that their countries shared “a common goal and a bond as it relates to our dedication to peace and security.”

The conversations followed Harris’s meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Monday, shortly after arriving in Tokyo.

During that meeting, Harris described the US alliance with Japan as “the foundation of what we believe is indispensable to peace, stability, and prosperity” in the region.

Like the sudden revelation of Harris’s trip to the DMZ, the meeting with Kishida was also marked by confusion. His staff tried to kick reporters out of the room while Harris was still speaking. The uproar drowned out some of her remarks, making it difficult for her office to complete an accurate transcript of her remarks.

In addition to concerns about North Korea, tensions have risen over Taiwan, the self-governing island that China considers part of its territory.

Mr. Biden recently said that the US would send troops to defend Taiwan if China attacked. Wang Yi, China’s foreign minister, said on Saturday that any attempt to prevent reunification with Taiwan would be crushed by the “wheel of history”.

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