In a press release issued April 26, the Secretaries of State and Defense, Rex Tillerson and James Mattis, respectively, and the Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats, labeled the North Korean pursuit of nuclear weapons capability as an “urgent” threat.
North Korea’s pursuit of nuclear weapons is an urgent national security threat and top foreign policy priority.”
The press release coincided with a briefing in Washington to which all 100 US senators were invited. The President is said to have delivered brief, opening remarks at the briefing.
The briefing was described by Senator Chris Coons (D-Delaware) as “sobering,” and occurred the day after a massive display of live rocket and torpedo fire on the coast of Wonsan, North Korea, followed by joint live-fire drills by South Korean and US forces in Pocheon, South Korea.
The Trump Administration is reaching out to allies in the region, and has stepped up its demands of the People’s Republic of China to exercise influence over its southern neighbor. Nevertheless, the press release demonstrates the resolve of the Administration in bringing the wayward North Korean leader Kim Jung-un to heel:
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 a separate meeting with the House Armed Services Committee April 26, Admiral Harry Harris, chief of the U.S. Pacific Command, stated:
Kim Jong-un is clearly in a position to threaten Hawaii today, in my opinion.”