White House briefing for senators on North Korea


Top Trump administration officials will hold a rare briefing at the White House on Wednesday for the entire US Senate on the situation in North Korea.

All 100 senators, who are more used to meeting on Capitol Hill, have been invited to the President’s official residence by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The White House says increased activity around North Korea should not be over-interpreted and is “not a part of something choreographed”.

There have been suggestions that the location of the briefing underlines the Trump administration’s assertion that the Obama “era of strategic patience” has come to an end.

Wednesday’s meeting was due to take place in a secure room in the Capitol building before President Trump suggested it be switched to the White House.

There is growing concern over North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests.

So far, only rhetoric has been ramped up and there has been no clear White House strategy on what do to about the dictatorship, aside from beefing up the US presence in the region.

The USS Michigan arrived at a South Korean port on Tuesday.

The guided-missile submarine can carry over 150 Tomahawk cruise missiles and deploy up to 66 Navy SEALs.

The USS Carl Vinson, an aircraft carrier, is also heading in the same direction.

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

On Monday he said: “This is a real threat to the world, whether we want to talk about it or not.

“North Korea’s a big world problem, and it’s a problem we have to finally solve.

“People put blindfolds on for decades and now it’s time to solve the problem.”

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham told Reuters the administration should be telling senators it has a “red line”, if it has one.

He said: “By 2020, if nothing changes inside of North Korea, they’ll have the technology, they’ll have a breakthrough, to develop an ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missile) that can reach America. I hope this president will say that’s a non-starter.”

The briefing will take place at 3pm local time (8pm UK time).