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US Weighs Military Response To North Korea Threat

27 April 2017

US senators travelled to the White House Wednesday for an unusual briefing on the North Korean threat, as the Trump administration prepares a variety of options, including a possible military response, to Pyongyang's nuclear weapons programme.

At the beginning of the White House session, he and Vice President Pence gave a brief address before Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats and Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, took turns speaking to the senators.

The statement ends on a familiar note: "We remain prepared to defend ourselves and our allies", it reads.

A Trump administration official who spoke anonymously said that the USA was considering returning North Korea to the State Department's list of state sponsors of terrorism.

Despite the U.S. administration's emphasis on a peaceful resolution, the US's top commander in the Asia-Pacific region, told a congressional hearing that its new missile defence system would be operative in days.

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"What we are endeavoring to do is work with partners in the region and others to isolate the North Korean ballistic missile program and the nuclear program from any sort of external support", the official continued.

The BBC reported that President Trump's North Korea strategy involves tightening sanctions in attempts to pressure Kim Jong-un to back off of his increasingly aggressive military posture. "Kim's strategic capabilities are not yet an existential threat to the US, but if left unchecked, he will gain the capability to match his rhetoric".

In a show of force, the US recently sent high-powered military vessels - including an aircraft carrier - to the region in an effort to deter the North from conducting further ballistic missile tests. His administration also briefed members of the House of Representatives at the U.S. Capitol.

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.

While he says he supports diplomatic options, there seems to be less likelihood a similar deal could be made with North Korea.

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"We remain open to negotiations to towards that goal", they reportedly told the senators. An unstable North Korea could lead refugees to flee into China.

"I don't share your confidence that North Korea is not going to attack either South Korea, or Japan, or the United States. once they have the capability", Harris told a lawmaker at one point.

North Korea's United Nations Mission said if "total war" broke out with the United States it would respond with nuclear options.

"You can't just ignore North Korea", said Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE). How anxious are you about North Korea?

Blumenthal said he would press for more information from the Trump administration.

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The US Air Force also tested an intercontinental ballistic missile early Wednesday to demonstrate its nuclear deterrence capability.