WASHINGTON — Vice President Kamala Harris mistakenly touted the U.S. "alliance with the Republic of North Korea" in remarks Thursday from Korea's Demilitarized Zone that sought to reaffirm America's commitment to the security of its Asian allies.
"The United States shares a very important relationship, which is an alliance with the Republic of North Korea," Harris said, intending to refer to South Korea as she kicked off remarks after touring the DMZ. "It is an alliance that is strong and enduring."
Although the vice president did not correct herself, she went on to hail the U.S.'s "ironclad" commitment to the defense of South Korea amid threats posed by North Korea. Harris said she told South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeo in a meeting Thursday that "we are aligned on this issue."
"Our shared goal – the United States and the Republic of Korea – is a complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula," Harris said.
Harris’ gaffe came one day after President Joe Biden made a slip-up as well when he asked in a speech whether late Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-Ind., was in attendance. Walorski died in a car wreck in August.
Hours after Harris began her departure back to the U.S. after her four-day swing to Asia, North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles into the sea, marking North Korea's third round of missile launches this week.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said North Korea "has a history of doing these types of tests," adding that Harris' Asia trip this week is a demonstration of "our rock-solid commitment" to the security of Japan and South Korea.
Harris said the DMZ "reminds us of the dramatically different path" that South Korea and North Korea have taken.
"In the south, we see a thriving democracy, innovation, economic prosperity, and strength," Harris said. "In the north, we see a brutal dictatorship, rampant human rights violations and an unlawful weapons program that threatens peace and stability."
Contributing: Associated Press
Reach Joey Garrison on Twitter @joeygarrison.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: VP Harris hails US alliance with 'North Korea' in speech gaffe