The Senate took part in a rare White House briefing on Wednesday to hear what senior leaders described as "an urgent national security threat" posed by North Korea's nuclear and missile programs. As FreeBeacon reports, the hour-long secret session for all senators was held at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, next to the White House, and included a brief appearance from President Trump who made short, introductory remarks. Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, also took part in the session. His presence is an indication that military options for dealing with North Korea likely were discussed.
Sen. John Barrasso (R., Wyo.) told MSNBC the meeting was "very consequential" and included discussion of North Korea's shift from liquid to solid fuel missiles, and improving nuclear weapons and missile capabilities. Barrasso said he favors increasing sanctions, including sanctions on China.
Sen. Chris Coons (D., Del.) called the session "very clear-eyed, sober and serious."
Coons told MSNBC the administration is working to avoid a conflict and "making it clear to China how serious we are about preventing North Korea from developing the capability to deliver a nuclear warhead by ICBM against the United States or one of our key allies, and that there are real efforts being made to avoid a misunderstanding or miscalculation because I do think this is a very dangerous circumstance and situation."
Following President Trump's North Korea briefing, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Defense James Mattis, and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats have issued a joint statement making it very clear where America goes next...
Past efforts have failed to halt North Korea's unlawful weapons programs and nuclear and ballistic missile tests. With each provocation, North Korea jeopardizes stability in Northeast Asia and poses a growing threat to our allies and the U.S. homeland.
North Korea's pursuit of nuclear weapons is an urgent national security threat and top foreign policy priority. Upon assuming office, President Trump ordered a thorough review of U.S. policy pertaining to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).
Today, along with Chainnan of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joe Dunford, we briefed members of Congress on the review. The president's approach aims to pressure North Korea into dismantling its nuclear, ballistic missile, and proliferation programs by tightening economic anctions and pursuing diplomatic measures with our allies and regional partners.
We are engaging responsible members of the international community to increase pressure on he DPRK in order to convince the regime to de-escalate and return to the path of dialogue. We will maintain our close coordination and cooperation with our allies, especially the Republic of Korea and Japan, as we work together to preserve stability and prosperity in the region.
The United States seeks stability and the peaceful denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. We remain open to negotiations towards that goal. However, we remain prepared to defend ourselves and our allies.
The administration recently completed a review of North Korea policy. New policies under consideration are imposing so-called secondary sanctions on North Korea that would be designed to cut off supplies of missile and nuclear goods from places such as China and Russia.
But the statement above certainly does not leave too much room for any more 'sabre-rattling' from Korea. Having sent a carrier group (or 2 or 3), ported a nuclear Sub, and test-fired its nuclear missiles; America appears to have shown its 'stick'...