Taiwan and China: Nancy Pelosi visits the border between the two Koreas in another controversial gesture towards Pyongyang | International

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After infuriating China with her visit to Taiwan, Nancy Pelosi took the risk on Thursday to do the same with North Korea. In the afternoon, the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives visited the Panmunjom Joint Security Area, in the demilitarized zone that separates the two Koreas, a gesture that the South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol described it as a “deterrent” against Pyongyang, official South Korean sources confirmed to the digital NK News. The visit also comes just one day after North Korea’s permanent mission to the United Nations warned that it “will never tolerate” US criticism of its nuclear program. Also this Thursday, China has launched unprecedented military exercises in waters near Taiwan, in response to Pelosi’s controversial visit to the self-governing island that Beijing considers part of its territory.

The North Korean regime on Wednesday branded Washington a “nuclear proliferation kingpin” and added that it will not allow any invasion of its sovereign rights. North Korea’s permanent mission to the United Nations made the remarks during a diplomatic meeting at the UN conference to review the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. During the meeting, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated that Pyongyang “continues to expand its illegal nuclear program” and “is preparing to carry out its seventh nuclear test.” North Korea has conducted missile tests at an unprecedented rate this year, and international analysts warn that it may be preparing for its seventh nuclear test, the first since 2017.

The 82-year-old legislator thus becomes the highest-ranking US representative to visit the place since Donald Trump did so in 2019, when the then president met with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un as part of a series of meetings intended to achieve the denuclearization of the peninsula.

Nancy Pelosi – who has avoided mentioning her controversial visit to Taiwan since arriving in Seoul – has reiterated that her Asian tour is aimed at reaffirming the United States’ commitment to its allies and friends, and is focused on mutual security, partnership economy and democratic governance in the Indo-Pacific region.

This morning he met with his South Korean counterpart, Kim Jin-pyo, to whom he expressed concern about the growing threats posed by North Korea’s nuclear program. “We agree to support the efforts of the two governments for denuclearization and peace through international cooperation and diplomatic dialogue,” they have expressed through a joint statement. Pelosi and Kim have also discussed ways to enhance cooperation on regional security, as well as economic and environmental matters.

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Pelosi’s trip to the North-South Korea border came less than an hour after a 40-minute phone call with President Yoon. In his call, the two politicians have reaffirmed their commitment to strengthening bilateral ties. South Korean Deputy National Security Adviser Kim Tae-hyo told reporters that Pelosi said allies must build a “free and open” Indo-Pacific order and have “a responsibility to maintain peace and prosperity in the peninsula”. The US House Speaker also made reference to the “human rights situation” in North Korea, which she said she had witnessed when she visited Pyongyang in the past.

Some local media have speculated on how the South Korean president could have avoided meeting with Pelosi in person so as not to provoke tensions with China. From the Office of Public Relations of the Presidency, however, they have expressed that “every decision has been made taking into account our national interest” and that there will be no changes in the position of putting the alliance between South Korea and the United States first. When asked if the “national interest” included diplomatic relations and the regional situation, the office’s spokesman avoided comment.

the conservative newspaper Chosun Ilbo points out in an editorial that the fact that Yoon has not met with Pelosi could give the United States and China “the wrong signal”: “South Korea has to act carefully in its relations with China, since it is the largest partner country’s trade, as well as a key nation related to the North Korean nuclear issue.” “However, it is feared that if the government continues with a submissive attitude like that of the (former liberal president) Moon Jae-in administration towards China, the ties between China and South Korea will continue to be distorted,” the newspaper said.

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