US Vice President Kamala Harris will visit the demilitarized zone dividing North and South Korea on Thursday – a day after Pyongyang fired two ballistic missiles into waters off its east coast.

Harris was in Asia this week to attend the state funeral of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo, where she also met with South Korean and Australian government leaders.

On Thursday, she met South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, with whom she was expected to discuss the threat posed by North Korea, the “importance of calm” in the Taiwan Strait, cooperation on economics and technology, and other regional issues. Residence of the President of the United States.

During the meeting, Harris called the US-South Korea alliance a “linchpin” of regional and global security. She reaffirmed “the goal of complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula” and condemned North Korea’s “provocative nuclear rhetoric” and ballistic missile launches, according to a White House reading.

While in Seoul, Harris also met with a group of women industry leaders before heading to the DMZ – often described as one of the world’s most heavily armed borders.

The DMZ has long been a destination for US presidents and vice presidents on official visits to South Korea, where they have been photographed peering through binoculars into North Korean-controlled territory.

At the DMZ, Harris will meet with service members, as well as receive briefings from US commanders.

Harris’ visit comes a day after North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles from Pyongyang’s Sunan area, according to South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS).

The missiles had a range of about 360 kilometers (224 miles), an altitude of 30 kilometers (19 miles) and a speed of Mach 6 – six times the speed of sound, the JCS said.

US Vice President Kamala Harris stands next to the demarcation line in the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, in Panmunjom, South Korea, on September 29.

“The Army has strengthened its surveillance and vigilance and is maintaining a fully prepared posture while cooperating closely with the US,” it said.

By CNN’s count, this is North Korea’s 20th missile launch this year, and follows another launch on September 25 – shortly before Harris arrived in the region.

Speaking aboard the USS Howard at the Yokosuka Naval Base in Japan on Wednesday, Harris criticized North Korea’s recent missile launches as “part of an illegal weapons program that threatens regional stability and violates multiple UN Security Council resolutions.”

US Vice President Kamala Harris heads to the Demilitarized Zone demarcation line separating the two Koreas, in Panmunjom, South Korea, on September 29.

At a press conference on Wednesday, White House press secretary Karin Jean-Pierre declined to say whether the launch could coincide with Harris’ visit, saying the tests were “not unusual” for North Korea.

The US and South Korea have been conducting joint naval exercises with the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier since Monday.

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