Kamala Harris will visit the Korean peninsula this week during a diplomatic trip to Asia.
The vice president’s journey to the sensitive demilitarized zone separating North and South Korea will come days after North Korea fired a ballistic missile into the ocean as an apparent warning.
North Korea fires missile
The missile flew 370 miles before falling into the Sea of Japan.
South Korea condemned the launch as a “grave provocation,” but the Pentagon said it posed no “immediate threat to US personnel or territory, or to our allies.”
The missile launch also came as a nuclear-powered American aircraft carrier, USS Ronald Reagan, arrived in South Korea for joint military drills.
Later this week, Harris will become the first Biden official to visit the Korean peninsula’s DMZ. Her plans were announced Tuesday by South Korean prime minister Han Duck-soo, who met with Harris in Tokyo.
“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.
Harris dispatched to sensitive region
Harris was in Tokyo for the state funeral of Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe, who was assassinated in July.
The Biden White House has occasionally sent Harris on important diplomatic missions, with sometimes embarrassing results.
This is her second trip to Asia, a region that has grown increasingly tense over China’s aggression toward its neighbors, particularly Taiwan. President Biden said in a recent interview that the U.S. would go to war if China ever attacked Taiwan.
China is North Korea’s primary ally. North Korea has fired over 30 ballistic missiles this year, a record.
A Chinese propaganda newspaper denounced Harris’s visit to Asia, saying it would “escalate” tensions.