Senators Summoned to White House for North Korea Strategy Briefing

Kathleen Mckinney
April 28, 2017

Earlier on Wednesday, North Korea's Foreign Ministry called USA attempts to make Pyongyang give up its nuclear weapons through military threats and sanctions "a wild dream" and like "sweeping the sea with a broom". The U.S. says it will only target North Korean missiles, but China and Russian Federation see the system's powerful radars as a security threat.

Following a two-month review, the administration is said to have recently settled on its North Korea policy, dubbed "maximum pressure and engagement". It made no specific mention of military options, though it said the US would defend itself and friends. "We will maintain our close coordination and cooperation with our allies, especially the South Korea and Japan, as we work together to preserve stability and prosperity in the region", the statement said.

But asked what if North Korea tests an intercontinental missile or nuclear device, she said: "I think then the president steps in and decides what's going to happen".

The United States and South Korea agreed to deploy THAAD in response to the threat of missile launches by North Korea. Trump's top national security advisers said they were "open to negotiations" with the North, though they gave no indication of when or under what circumstances.

U.S. ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said the United States is not seeking a fight with North Korea and would not attack "unless he (North Korean leader Kim Jong-un) gives us reason to do something".

While the administration said military strikes remained an option, the return to sanctions given the risks of massive North Korean retaliation basically represents a continuation of the policy of former President Barack Obama's administration, which failed to slow Pyongyang down.

Senators preparing to attend an unusual all-hands meeting on North Korea at the White House Wednesday said they are eager to hear President Donald Trump's views on the increasingly tense standoff with Pyongyang.

U.S commercial satellite images indicated an increase in activity around North Korea's nuclear test site and South Korea's defense ministry said North Korea could conduct "provocations" at any time.

The US President says "the status quo" is not acceptable and that the UN Security Council must be ready to impose new sanctions.

President Trump's plans to fund a border wall between the US and Mexico, while cutting spending on numerous other domestic services, threatens to stall the process, even as it involves a Republican-controlled Congress. The announcement came as the Navy's Seventh Fleet said two destroyers of its Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group conducted simultaneous, bilateral exercises with us regional allies South Korea and Japan in a display of military might on North Korea's doorstep. It said it would win in a "death-defying struggle against the US imperialists".

China has urged restraint by both Pyongyang and Washington. North Korea has conducted five nuclear tests so far, the latest in September.

Meanwhile, other congressional officials questioned why the session was occurring at the White House at all, suggesting the gathering could amount to a substance-free - and inconvenient - photo-op.

South Korea accuses China of discriminating against some South Korean companies operating in China because of the THAAD deployment. However the move has angered China, which says the advanced system will do little to deter the North while destabilising the regional security balance.

Other reports by TheDigitalNewspaper

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