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In a show of defiance, North Korea has fired two short-range ballistic missiles into the sea hours after U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris flew home from a visit to South Korea during which she emphasized the “ironclad” U.S. commitment to the security of its Asian allies. It was the third round of missile launches by North Korea this week, extending a record pace in weapons testing as it accelerates a push to expand its arsenal and pressure Washington to accept it as a nuclear power. Harris earlier capped her four-day trip to Asia with a stop at the Demilitarized Zone dividing the Korean Peninsula, where she addressed the threat posed by the increasingly hostile North.

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The White House is unveiling a Pacific strategy designed to bolster U.S. engagement with more than a dozen island nations on issues including climate change and maritime security. The Biden administration is pledging to expand the U.S. diplomatic presence in the region and provide $810 million in new aid. The administration released the new strategy as President Joe Biden gets ready to meet with leaders on Thursday at the U.S.-Pacific Island Country Summit. The Democratic president is looking to turn up engagement with Pacific Island nations as part of his broader effort to offer a counterweight to growing Chinese military and economic influence in the region.