Harris Focuses Asia Trip on Security 09/27 06:13
In meeting after meeting with Asian leaders Tuesday, Vice President Kamala
Harris emphasized the U.S. commitment to regional security and the White House
disclosed that she would visit the Demilitarized Zone dividing the rival Koreas.
TOKYO (AP) -- In meeting after meeting with Asian leaders Tuesday, Vice
President Kamala Harris emphasized the U.S. commitment to regional security and
the White House disclosed that she would visit the Demilitarized Zone dividing
the rival Koreas.
An official said Harris would tour the border area between South and North
Korea on Thursday, at the end of her trip to Asia. The visit comes amid
persistent concerns about North Korea's missile and nuclear programs.
North Korea test-fired a short-range ballistic missile shortly before Harris
left Washington, an apparent response to joint military exercises between the
United States and South Korea that include the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier
USS Ronald Reagan.
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the DMZ in August, and former
President Donald Trump went in 2019 when he met with North Korean leader Kim
Harris' plan, which had been kept under wraps 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 afterward.
The official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said Harris "will tour
sites at the DMZ, meet with service members and receive an operational briefing
from U.S. commanders."
She will also "reflect on the shared sacrifice of tens of thousands of
American and Korean soldiers who fought and died together" in the war that
divided the peninsula seven decades ago.
According to the White House, Harris also talked with Han about South
Korea's complaints about the Inflation Reduction Act, which makes electric cars
built outside of North America ineligible for government subsidies.
"They pledged to continue to consult as the law is implemented," the White
Security concerns have dominated Harris' public remarks during her meetings
in Tokyo, where she's attending the state funeral of former Prime Minister
Shinzo Abe, who was assassinated in July.
While sitting down with Han, Harris said the U.S. alliance with South Korea
is the "linchpin of security and prosperity" in the region.
"We stand with you in the face of threats," she said.
Afterwards, Harris met with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese,
telling him their countries share a "common goal and bond as it relates to our
dedication to peace and security."
The conversations follow Harris' meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio
Kishida on Monday, shortly after arriving in Tokyo.
During that encounter, Harris described the U.S. alliance with Japan as "a
cornerstone of what we believe is integral to peace, stability and prosperity"
in the region.
Like the abrupt disclosure of Harris' trip to the DMZ, the meeting with
Kishida was also marked by confusion. His staff tried to usher reporters out of
the room while Harris was still speaking. The commotion drowned out some of her
remarks, making it hard for her office to finalize a transcript of her exact
In addition to concerns over North Korea, there's been increased tension
involving Taiwan, the self-governing island that China views as part of its
President Joe Biden recently said that the U.S. would send troops to defend
Taiwan if China attacked. Wang Yi, China's foreign minister, said Saturday that
any attempt to prevent reunification with Taiwan would be "crushed by the
wheels of history."