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Kamala Harris to visit Korean demilitarised zone as naval drills stoke tensions | South Korea

US Vice President Kamala Harris will visit the heavily armed border separating North and South Korea on Thursday, amid rising tensions on the peninsula.

Harris will arrive at the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) on the southern side of the border, days after the regime in Pyongyang warned that South Korea and the United States risked “provoking conflict” after launching large-scale naval exercises for the first time. in five years.

Harris’ visit to the demilitarized zone “will underscore … the commitment of the United States to stand by it [South Korea] A White House official said that in the face of any threats “from North Korea.

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Harris will be the largest member of the US administration to go to the inter-Korean border since Donald Trump walked across the demarcation line into North Korea during a meeting with the country’s leader, Kim Jong Un, in 2019.

You’ll think of the joint sacrifice of tens of thousands of American and Korean soldiers killed in the 1950-53 Korean War, which ended with a ceasefire but not a peace treaty, and “Tourist sites in the DMZ, you’ll meet service members and receive an operational briefing from American leaders,” The official added.

North Korea has conducted a record number of weapons tests this year, including one involving an ICBM launched at full range for the first time since 2017.

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US and South Korean officials have warned for months that Pyongyang may be on the cusp of its seventh nuclear test, while some analysts have said North Korean leader Kim Jong Un may wait until after the Chinese Communist Party’s National Congress, which begins on October 16.

North Korea has traditionally avoided doing anything to embarrass China, its biggest ally and trading partner.

Officials in Washington and Seoul promised a “quick and forceful” response to any nuclear test.

North Korea has indicated it is intent on developing more advanced weapons with the test-firing of a short-range ballistic missile on Sunday.

The launch came a day before the United States and South Korea – where 28,500 US troops are stationed – begin joint exercises involving the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan and its battle group off the east coast of the Korean Peninsula.

Harris, who attended Shinzo Abe’s state funeral in Tokyo on Tuesday, is scheduled to address US sailors in Yokosuka, south of Tokyo, on Wednesday before heading to South Korea.

She was expected to reiterate Washington’s commitment to Japan’s security, and to warn China of aggressive moves toward Taiwan, days after US President Joe Biden announced that the United States would defend the island if China attempted to invade it.

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“You will face threats to the rules-based international order and how you see it,” a senior administration official said, including recent provocations across the Taiwan Strait.

“You’ll talk about that and what we’re doing to deter those efforts and defend the international rules and norms that have guided this region.”

Harris’ demilitarized visit would be the first by a high-ranking US official since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi went in August, leading North Korea to condemn it as “the worst destroyer of international peace.”

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