Vice President Kamala Harris is finally going to the border, just not the U.S.-Mexico one.
Per NBC News, the vice president will visit the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separating North and South Korea on Thursday. The purpose of the visit is “to show Washington’s commitment to the South’s security,” amid North Korea’s recent missile launches, NBC said.
Harris will make the visit on the same trip to Asia during which she will attend the funeral of the late Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe.
South Korean prime minister Han Duck-soo announced the visit on Tuesday. Harris and Han will also hold a bilateral meeting.
“Your visit to the DMZ and Seoul will be very symbolic demonstrations of your strong commitments to security and peace on the Korean Peninsula,” Han said, per NBC.
Harris will be the first Biden administration official to visit the DMZ, although Biden visited the location in 2013 when he was vice president. VOA reported earlier this year that Biden had considered a trip to the DMZ when he went to Asia in May, but ultimately decided not to go.
In 2018, President Donald Trump famously crossed the DMZ into North Korea, becoming the first U.S. president ever to do so. That was the third of three meetings that Trump held with Kim Jong-un, although that diplomatic opening never led to any agreement.
“The United States alliance with the Republic of Korea is the linchpin of security and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific. We take that relationship seriously and we stand with you in the face of threats, knowing that we are aligned on so many issues. We have a shared history, and we have a lot of work yet to do together to strengthen that relationship,” the vice president said in remarks released by the White House.
“I look forward to discussing with you, for example, the work that we are doing as it relates to our investment in innovation and technology; the work we are doing in space; and then, of course, your leadership, in particular, on the climate crisis. I look forward to talking with you about the ambitious goals that you have set based on your personal, I believe, commitment to addressing that issue and to the Republic of Korea’s leadership globally on that very issue.”
“I and my delegation are really very happy and honored to meet you and your delegation here in Tokyo,” Han said in reply. “And we are looking forward to welcoming you in Seoul in two days. And our government and the Korean people are very much looking forward to seeing you in person in Korea.”
Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.