US VP to visit Korean DMZ amid alliance naval drills and high tensions
US Vice President Kamala Harris is set to visit the Korean Demilitarized Zone in the coming days as it finalizes maritime joint operation drills with the South Korean navy in the Pacific.
The US is planning an official visit to the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) on the border of South Korea with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) later this week.
US Vice President Kamala Harris, according to information reported by the South Korean news agency Yonhap, will visit the DMZ in a conceited move set to become symbolic of the US-South Korea alliance.
South Korean Prime Minister Han Duck-soo reported Harris' intended to visit earlier on Tuesday, noting that during a meeting in Tokyo, Harris said, as reported by Yonhap, that the two countries' alliance is "the linchpin of security and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific."
Harris is set to visit the DMZ approximately two months after the DPRK condemned US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to the heavily fortified DMZ, branding her the "worst destroyer of international peace."
Pelosi, who traveled to Taiwan in the first week of August, became the highest-ranking US official to visit the Joint Security Area (JSA) between the two Koreas since then-President Donald Trump met DPRK leader Kim Jong-Un there in 2019.
US and South Korea conduct maritime drills
The nuclear-powered USS Ronald Reagan, the USS Chancellorsville, a guided-missile cruiser, and the USS Barry, a guided missile destroyer, which anchored in Busan, South Korea on September 23, were taking part in military drills with the South Korean maritime forces on Monday.
The drills come after a day after the DPRK allegedly launched a short-range ballistic missile into the Sea of Japan, according to South Korean news agency Yonhap, citing the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS).
The drills will take place over the course of four days and are aimed to demonstrate the allies' “powerful resolve to respond to North Korean [DPRK] provocations” and advance their ability to conduct joint naval operations, according to a statement from the South Korean navy.
In addition to the US naval vessels aforementioned, the South Korean navy stated that more than 20 US and South Korean navy ships were mobilized for the drills, alongside US and South Korean fighter jets and helicopters that will also take part in the training.
USS Zumwalt sails in the Western Pacific
Earlier today, the former US Navy captain and analyst Carl Schuster revealed that the US navy's most advanced surface warship, the USS Zumwalt, is conducting a mission in the western Pacific that might pave the way for the future stationing of US hypersonic missiles in the area.
According to Schuster “The presence of a stealth warship will draw a great deal of [Chinese] interest,” particularly if the Zumwalt is armed with hypersonic missiles.
The USS Zumwalt is one of three multi-mission guided missile destroyers in a class that the Navy claims would “create a new level of battlespace complexity for potential adversaries.”
South Koreans protest against US-Seoul war drills, demanding US out
The magnitude of the US administration's influence over mainstream media is no hoax, notably as there were barely any reports about the thousands of South Korean unionists and supporters who rallied in Seoul's downtown on August 13 to protest against the joint US-South Korea war games.
The drills, which were the largest in years, come after the election of incumbent President Yoon Suk-yeol, who promised tougher stances against North Korea. Union leaders, however, have been concerned regarding the risks that come with such policy.
South Koreans held banners demanding that the US leave their land.
Many South Koreans argue that the US military and Seoul's alliance with Washington prevent the improvement of ties with DPRK, generating further tension.