US to use sanctions, diplomacy over North Korea nuclear threats

The United States government's strategy on North Korea aims to pressure the country's leadership to dismantle its nuclear and ballistic missiles by tightening sanctions.
By Adam Widmer | Apr 29, 2017
The United States government's strategy on North Korea aims to pressure the country's leadership to dismantle its nuclear and ballistic missiles by tightening sanctions.

"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, " Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said Wednesday in a joint statement.

The statement added that the U.S is engaging responsible members of the international community to increase pressure on North Korea, to convince the regime to de-escalate and return to the path of dialogue.

Trump's administration held Wednesday a special, hour-long classified briefing on North Korea for all 100 Senators.

One Democrat senator described the briefing as "sobering."

According to officials, Tillerson, Mattis, and Coats used the extraordinary meeting to outline Pyongyang's increasing nuclear capabilities.

According to Democratic Senator Christopher Coons, military options were discussed in the meeting.

"It was a sobering briefing in which it was clear just how much thought and planning was going into preparing military options, if called for," Senator Coons told reporters, adding that there is also a diplomatic strategy that looks clear-eyed and well proportioned to him.

Before the meeting, the U.S Pacific Forces commander Admiral Harry Harris Jr. told Congress that controversial missile defense system in South Korea would be active within weeks.

Admiral Harris said any North Korean missile fired at American forces would be destroyed.

Harris warned that North Korean threats should be taken seriously and that the United States needed to boost its defenses in Hawaii.

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