Kamala Harris gaffe: VP uses binocs to look at DMZ 50m away and befuddles troops with James Webb telescope talk

Kamala Harris seemed to have confused US soldiers as she talked about James Webb telescope after she viewed North Korea through binoculars

Kamala Harris gaffe: VP uses binocs to look at DMZ 50m away and befuddles troops with James Webb telescope talk
Vice president Kamala Harris used binoculars to view the North Korean border from DMZ while talking to American soldiers (C-Span video screenshot)
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SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA: Hours after claiming that the US had a "strong alliance" with North Korea, vice president Kamala Harris used binoculars to observe the country's border from the demilitarized zone in South Korea. She then went on to talk about NASA’s Webb telescope with the US soldiers, who seemed to be confused about the unrelated topic.

The vice president who was with US soldiers was seen on camera marveling as she peered into North Korea during her visit to South Korea. “There's something about seeing it... with your own eyes,” Harris commented. “And it's so close.” The service member then corrected her, saying: “It's 50 meters away, mam.” To which she replied, “Oh, right.” Then, out of nowhere, the vice president started discussing NASA's Webb telescope which has been photographing far-off galaxies, with the US and South Korean soldiers stationed in the demilitarized zone (DMZ). “Have you seen the photographs from the Webb telescope,” Harris told the officers as reported by Daily Mail. “It's the most humbling thing,” she added as the service members politely nodded. “You've got to see it.,” she further said. 

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After her speech at the border crossing when she inadvertently praised the US partnership with "North Korea," Harris interacted with the soldiers at the demilitarized zone. “The United States shares a very important relationship, which is an alliance with the Republic of North Korea,” Harris said during a speech at the DMZ on September 29, intending to refer to the Republic of Korea, the official name of South Korea. “It is an alliance that is strong and enduring,” she continued, not appearing to recognize her mistake. 

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In this handout image provided by the South Korean Presidential Office, South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol (R) shakes hands with U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris (L) during their meeting at Presidential office on September 29, 2022 in Seoul, South Korea. Harris was to meet with Yoon to discuss bilateral relations and other regional and global issues during her visit to Seoul. Harris is visiting South Korea after attending the state funeral for former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo.
Kamala Harris visited South Korea to strengthen the alliance with the nation (Photo by South Korean Presidential Office via Getty Images)

In response to the vice president's journey to Asia, North Korea launched yet another missile on September 29, prompting her comments expressing US support for South Korea's security. Warships from South Korea, the US and Japan have begun their first trilateral anti-submarine exercises in five years after North Korea resumed missile testing this week in what seems to be retaliation for bilateral training by South Korean and US forces. Before and after US vice president Harris' visit to South Korea when he reiterated the US' "ironclad" commitment to the security of its Asian allies, North Korea launched five missiles, the first in a month. According to a South Korean navy statement, the one-day exercise was conducted off the east coast of the Korean peninsula to serve as a test of how South Korea would fare in the event that North Korea pushed to improve its capacity to launch missiles from submarines.

In recent years, Pyongyang has been developing larger submarines including one that is nuclear-powered and testing advanced missiles that can be launched from them. For its competitors, it is a concerning development since it is more difficult to anticipate the firing of underwater missiles. Last weekend, South Korean officials claimed to have found evidence that North Korea was getting ready to launch a missile test from a submarine. According to a statement from the navy, the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan will participate in maneuvers alongside US, South Korean and Japanese warships.

Media sources state that as part of the drill, the military ships from the three countries were to follow and hunt for a US nuclear-powered submarine that was impersonating a North Korean submarine while sharing information. “We will respond and neutralize any forms of North Korean provocations in an overwhelming and decisive manner,” said Captain Cho Chung-ho, commander of the South Korean navy troops who took part in the training, according to the Daily Mail. North Korea possesses a range of nuclear-capable missiles in addition to its submarine-launched missiles, putting the three cooperating nations within striking distance. As it refuses to restart long-stalled nuclear dialogue with the US, Pyongyang has conducted a record number of missile tests this year.

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