U.S. vice president to visit DMZ

TOKYO, Japan (AFP) — United States Vice President Kamala Harris will visit the heavily fortified Demilitarized Zone on a trip to South Korea later this week, the White House said Tuesday.

Harris, who is currently in Tokyo to attend the state funeral of assassinated former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe, will go to the DMZ on Thursday, a White House official said.

The move is likely to spark an angry reaction from North Korea, which denounced US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as the “worst destroyer of international peace” when she visited the DMZ in August.

On Monday, Pyongyang warned that South Korea and the US risked triggering war after the allies launched their first combined naval exercise near the peninsula in five years.

Harris’s visit to the DMZ will “underscore… the United States’ commitment to stand beside (South Korea) in the face of any threats posed by” North Korea, the US official said.

Harris will “reflect on the shared sacrifice” of US and Korean soldiers killed in the Korean War, which ended with a ceasefire that split the peninsula nearly 70 years ago in 1953, the official said.

Harris arrived in Japan on Monday and met Prime Minister Fumio Kishida ahead of Abe’s funeral on Tuesday, which will be attended by hundreds of foreign dignitaries.

South Korean Prime Minister Han Duck-soo also held talks with Harris in Tokyo on Tuesday and said the DMZ visit would offer “very symbolic demonstrations of your strong commitments to the security and peace to the Korean Peninsula.”

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