The US vice president arrived in South Korea on Thursday to highlight the strength of the alliance between Washington and Seoul after North Korea’s latest ballistic missile tests. Kamala Harris landed at Osan Air Base, 70 km south of Seoul, after an AFP reporter’s trip to Tokyo to attend the funeral of slain former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
He is scheduled to meet South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol, with whom he is expected to discuss the long-standing security alliance between the two allies, strengthening their economic and technological partnership, and other regional and global issues. , his office said.
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Seoul is expected to raise concerns over a new law signed by US President Joe Biden that would eliminate subsidies for electric cars built outside the US, affecting South Korean automakers such as Hyundai and Kia.
Tension in Pyongyang
Kamala Harris also plans to visit the heavily fortified Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) that separates the two Koreas, possibly as a pretext for further verbal escalation from Pyongyang.
North Korea called US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi a “gross destroyer of international peace” during a visit to the border last August.
Read again: North Korea launches new missile into Sea of Japan
Just before Kamala Harris arrived in South Korea, North Korea launched two ballistic missiles, one on Sunday and one on Wednesday, in a series of weapons tests since earlier this year. Speaking aboard a US destroyer at a naval base before departing Japan, the US vice president accused Kim Jong-un’s regime of threatening regional stability with new missile launches.
Officials in Seoul and Washington have been warning for months that Pyongyang is preparing for another nuclear test. South Korea’s National Intelligence Service (NIS) has estimated that a test could take place next month after the Chinese Communist Party congress.
The US and South Korea are holding a large-scale joint naval exercise this week in a show of strength in the face of rising provocations from the North.
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