Vice-President Kamala Harris’ recent trip to the Republic of Korea was book-ended by the launching of missiles shot by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the DPRK. The resumption of such missile launches, as well as the possibility of another nuclear test by Pyongyang, are clear reminders of the security concerns the United States and its allies have about the DPRK’s dangerous and destabilizing actions.
In her meeting with Republic of Korea President Yoon Suk Yeol in Seoul, Vice President Harris emphasized the strong and enduring nature of the alliance between the United States and the Republic of Korea. She called it “a linchpin of security and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific and around the world.” The Vice President underscored the U.S commitment to defend the Republic of Korea and to strengthen the two nations’ combined defense posture.
Speaking after a tour of the Korean Demilitarized zone, Vice President Harris stressed the “ironclad” nature of the U.S. commitment to the defense of the Republic of Korea, which includes “the full range of U.S. military capabilities.”
The alliance between the two countries “was forged in shared sacrifice during the brutal Korean War … Americans and Koreans fought and died together for freedom and for liberty,” the Vice President said. “Nearly 70 years since the Korean Armistice, the threat of conflict remains. And we are reminded that the alliance between the United States and the Republic of Korea stands ready to address any contingency.”
Vice President Harris spoke of the “dramatically different paths” the DPRK and ROK took over the past seven decades: “In the south, we see a thriving democracy, innovation, economic prosperity, and strength – a powerhouse … and a force for good in the world. In the north, we see a brutal dictatorship, rampant human rights violations, and an unlawful weapons program that threaten peace and stability.”
Vice President Harris noted that the United States and the Republic of Korea share the goal of the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. The world too, she declared, seeks a stable and peaceful Korean Peninsula “where the DPRK is no longer a threat. We will continue to work alongside our partners here and everywhere to maintain stability and peace in this region.”