Home / News / World /  North Korea fires missile ahead of Kamala Harris trip to DMZ

North Korea fired a ballistic missile off its eastern coast on Wednesday, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement, a day before US Vice President Kamala Harris was set to visit the demilitarized zone dividing the nations. 

The missile is the second launched by North Korea this week. On Sunday, it fired a short-range missile into waters off its eastern coastline- its first launch since shooting off its single-day record of eight in June.

Harris will become the first senior White House official to visit the DMZ during Biden’s tenure. The visit comes as the White House has struggled to engage North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on talks over his country’s nuclear program.

Hours before, Sung Kim, the US special envoy to North Korea, underscored the Biden administration was open to dialogue. He called on Pyongyang to “engage in serious and sustained diplomacy," according to a State Department statement late Tuesday in Washington.  

The latest launch came after South Korea’s spy agency told lawmakers Wednesday that North Korea completed construction on Tunnel No. 3 in the Punggye-ri nuclear test site, indicating that it may conduct its seventh nuclear test sometime between Oct. 16 and Nov. 7. 

North Korea also recently denied it sold weapons to Russia in an unusually direct statement, blasting the US over “rumors" that Kim’s regime was aiding Vladimir Putin’s war.

So far in 2022, the North Korean leader has fired off more ballistic missiles than in any other year of his decade in power. He has tested rockets designed to evade US-operated interceptors, increasing the threat of a credible nuclear strike against the US and its allies in Asia.

Earlier in the week, South Korean Prime Minister Han Duck-soo told Harris that her visits to the DMZ and Seoul “will be very symbolic demonstrations of your strong commitments to the security and peace to Korean Peninsula, and we are working with you and US in dealing with North Korea."

In August, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi went to the Panmunjom truce village in the Demilitarized Zone. The place where soldiers from the two sides stare down each other is a symbol of military tensions that have simmered since the US came to South Korea’s defense in 1950 after North Korea invaded and started the Korean War. 

 

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.

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