S.Korean Prez, Kamala Harris share concern over N.Korea

by IANS |

Seoul, Sep 29 (IANS) South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol and visiting US Vice President Kamala Harris on Thursday shared their concern about North Korea's nuclear and missile programs.

Yoon and Harris met for 85 minutes at the presidential office and discussed a wide range of issues, including ways to strengthen the bilateral relationship, and key regional and international issues, Yonhap News Agency quoted deputy presidential spokesperson Lee Jae-myoung as saying.

"President Yoon and Vice President Harris expressed serious concern about North Korea's recent ballistic missile launches and legalization of its nuclear force policy," he said at a press briefing, noting Harris reaffirmed the ironclad US commitment to the defence of South Korea.

The two sides also agreed to plan a visit by Yoon to the US next year to mark the 70th anniversary of the alliance.

On the controversy surrounding Yoon and US President Joe Biden's meetings in New York last week, Harris said that Washington is not bothered by it at all, according to Lee.

The spokesperson did not elaborate on which controversy Harris was referring to, but it apparently included the uproar in South Korea over Yoon's remarks caught on hot mic, which were initially reported as including vulgar language in reference to US Congress and Biden.

The his the Vice President's Harris first visit to South Korea since taking office in January 2021.

The last time a US Vice President visited South Korea was in February 2018, when Mike Pence led a delegation to the PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games.

Harris landed in Seoul just hours after North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles into the East Sea in apparent protest of an ongoing South Korea-US military exercise involving an American aircraft carrier.

The North had also conducted a similar short-range ballistic missile test on Sunday.

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