US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi arrived in Japan late Thursday for the final leg of her high-stakes Asia trip after a stop in South Korea, where she reportedly visited the Demilitarized Zone dividing the Korean peninsula.
The California Democrat’s trip to the heavily armed border region was reported by South Korean media. The US Embassy in Seoul, the United Nations Command and the South Korean Defense Ministry couldn’t immediately confirm the reports. The State Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Pelosi would be the highest-ranking US official to visit the DMZ since President Donald Trump met North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un there in 2019.
The 155-mile-long, 2.5-mile-wide zone has been in place since an armistice was signed during the Korean War in 1953.
North Korea had already attacked Pelosi in a statement criticizing her visit to Taiwan earlier this week, a trip that triggered the Chinese government to launch military exercises.
Pyongyang’s Foreign Ministry said her visit demonstrated “impudent interference of the US in internal affairs of other countries.”
Beijing warned Tuesday that Pelosi arriving in Taiwan had “a severe impact on the political foundation of China-US relations, and seriously infringes upon China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
The same day, Beijing announced it would be holding its largest military drills in the region since 1995.
While in South Korea, Pelosi met National Assembly Speaker Kim Jin Pyo and other senior members of the nation’s parliament to discuss regional security, economic and climate issues.
“The relationship that began from urgency and security, many years ago, has become the warmest of friendships,” Pelosi said in a joint press conference with Kim Thursday.
“So we want to advance security, economy and governance in an interparliamentary way. Our president [Biden], who you acknowledged, was here in Korea in May, and he has had a lot of analysis about the good Asian Pacific initiative, the IPEF – Asian Pacific economic framework,” she added.
“We want to be able to work together for all of the purposes I mentioned, but to do so listening to our friends in South Korea, who have come here today.”
The speaker also chatted by phone with South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, who was on vacation during her visit.
From South Korea, Pelosi flew to Yokota Air Base in Fussa outside Tokyo, where she was welcomed by US Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel.
With Post wires