Trump administration briefs lawmakers on DPRK ‘provocations’

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In this April 26, 2017 photo released by the U.S. Navy, the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, foreground, transits the Philippine Sea with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Atago-class guided-missile destroyer JS Ashigara, left front, and the JMSDF Murasame-class destroyer JS Samidare. (Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Sean M. Castellano/U.S. Navy via AP)

The Trump administration hosted senators for briefing Wednesday during a time of heightened pressures with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The DPRK has issued nuclear threats and talk of military action, if necessary, from the United States.

CGTN’s Jessica Stone reports and gets more insight from Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del.

Trump administration briefs lawmakers on DPRK 'provocations'

The Trump administration hosted senators for briefing Wednesday during a time of heightened pressures with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The DPRK has issued nuclear threats and talk of military action, if necessary, from the United States.

All 100 senators were invited and transported in buses for the unprecedented classified briefing at the White House. President Donald Trump’s secretary of state, defense secretary, top general, and national intelligence director outlined the North’s escalating nuclear capabilities and U.S. response options, officials said.

“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,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Defense Mattis, and the Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said in a statement released following the meeting.

“The president’s approach aims to pressure North Korea into dismantling its nuclear, ballistic missile, and proliferation programs by tightening economic sanctions and pursuing diplomatic measures with our allies and regional partners,” the statement said. “we are engaging responsible members of the international community to increase pressure on the DPRK in order to convince the regime to de-escalate and return to the path of dialogue.”

The unusual session reflects increased American alarm over the DPRK’s progress in developing a nuclear-tipped missile that could strike the U.S. mainland.

“If Kim Jong UN continues provocative actions, nuclear tests, the testing and development of increasingly capable missiles and explicit threats to attack U.S. troops, or our allies in the region, we are well prepared to take action against him,” Senator Coons, a lawmaker who was in the briefing, told CGTN. “However, it was made clear in the briefing today as has been said, publicly that the U.S. is not seeking regime change, is not seeking any excursions north of the DMZ and would prefer a peaceful, stable, denuclearized Korean Peninsula,” the lawmaker said.

Despite the heightened tensions, administration officials reiterated in the press release that 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.”

In the past two weeks, Trump has ordered high-powered U.S. military vessels — including an aircraft carrier — to the region in a show of force to deter the DPRK from more nuclear and missile tests.

CGTN America with information from the Associated Press.