Kamala Harris accidentally praised America's "strong alliance" with North Korea as she visited the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) in its southern neighbour.
In a speech in front of a helicopter in South Korea, the US vice president said: "The US shares a very important relationship, which is an alliance with the Republic of North Korea. And it is a relationship that is strong and enduring."
She had intended to refer to the "Republic of Korea", which is the official name for South Korea. The official name for North Korea is the Democratic People's Republic of Korea [DPRK].
Ms Harris later gave America's ally its correct name, saying: "I cannot state enough that the commitment of the United States to the defence of the Republic of Korea is iron-clad."
The heavily fortified DMZ divides the Korean peninsula.
In her speech, Ms Harris also condemned Kim Jong-un's "brutal dictatorship, rampant human rights violations and an unlawful weapons programme that threatens peace and stability".
She said Seoul and Washington want "a complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula", but until then are "ready to address any contingency".
KAMALA HARRIS: "The United States shares a very important relationship, which is an alliance with the Republic of North Korea." pic.twitter.com/H2dI5UYOlo
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) September 29, 2022
At an observation post atop a steep hill overlooking North Korea, Ms Harris peered through binoculars as US and South Korean soldiers pointed out features, including defences, in the area. "It's so close," she said.
She also visited the Panmunjom Truce Village where former president Donald Trump met the North Korean leader in 2019.
On the North Korean side of the border at Panmunjom guards in hazmat suits watched as Ms Harris was shown the demarcation line between the two countries.
Later, shortly after Ms Harris left South Korea to return to the US, North Korea fired two ballistic missiles. It was Pyongyang's third launch in five days.
Yasukazu Hamada, Japanese defence minister, said: "North Korea's repeated ballistic missile launches can never be tolerated."
The US Indo-Pacific Command said it was "aware of the two ballistic missile launches and are consulting closely with our allies and partners".
It said: "While we have assessed that this event does not pose an immediate threat to US personnel or territory, or to our allies, the missile launch highlights the destabilising impact of the DPRK's unlawful WMD and ballistic missile programmes."