The White House said President Biden does not plan to visit the demilitarized zone during his trip to South Korea.
Mr. Biden is going to the east Asian country at the end of the week for a summit in Seoul with new South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol.
“They will have an agenda to talk about a lot of things, including North Korea, but he’s not going to the DMZ,” said White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre. “As vice president, he has been there before.”
The DMZ is a strip of land that has split the Korean peninsula in two along the 38th parallel since the Korean War ended in an armistice in 1953. Since the war is technically not over, the zone is heavily militarized and has been the site of skirmishes and several visits from U.S. dignitaries and presidents.
Former President Donald Trump famously went to the DMZ in 2019 and stepped onto North Korean soil with dictator Kim Jong-un amid attempts to reel in Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions. Mr. Kim paused long-range missile tests for a while but Mr. Trump was unable to get Mr. Kim to abandon his nuclear aims.
Intelligence reports suggest Mr. Kim might use Mr. Biden‘s visit to test ballistic missiles or even conduct a nuclear test.
National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said the U.S. is coordinating with allies in South Korea and Japan and has spoken to China about the possibility of a North Korean test during the trip.
“We are prepared obviously to make both short and longer-term adjustments to our military posture as necessary to ensure we are providing both defense and deterrence to our allies in the region and we are responding to any North Korean provocation,” he said.