Wednesday, May 05, 2021

US promises to increase pressure on North Korea

US Senators board busses for the White House for a briefing on North Korea outside the US Capitol in Washington, DC, USA, 26 April 2017. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, along with Defense Secretary James Mattis, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford, are delivering the briefing. EPA/JIM LO SCALZO

Washington, Apr 26 (EFE).- The US government said Wednesday that it is prepared to defend the country from the “urgent national security threat” posed by North Korea and promises that it will increase its pressure to get the pariah nation to dismantle its nuclear and ballistic programs, a task in which it hopes to have the help of allies in the United Nations.

That was the message that emerged from an unprecedented meeting at the White House in which members of President Donald Trump’s national security team informed the nation’s 100 senators about the results of a US policy review vis-a-vis North Korea ordered by the president.

President Trump “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 administration said in a statement.

An undated handout photo made available by the US Navy on 26 April 2017 shows US Navy’s aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), foreground, transits the Philippine Sea with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) Atago-class guided-missile destroyer JS Ashigara (DDG 178), left front, and the JMSDF Murasame-class destroyer JS Samidare (DD 106). The U.S. Navy has patrolled the Indo-Asia-Pacific routinely for more than 70 years. EPA/MC2 Sean M. Castellano / HANDOUT HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY

The communique is signed by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Defense Secretary James Mattis and National Intelligence Director Dan Coats, who headed the meeting along with the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Joseph Dunford.

The US is seeking “stability” and “peaceful denuclearization” of the Korean Peninsula, and Washington remains open to negotiations toward that end, despite the “threat” posed by North Korea, the officials said in the statement.

Trump and Vice President Mike Pence stopped by the meeting, which was designed to convey to the members of the upper house of Congress the “seriousness” of the North Korean threat, a top US official told reporters.

The meeting, which was held shortly before another similar information session in the Capitol for the nation’s 435 congressmen, also sought to give lawmakers the results of the review Trump had ordered on US policy toward Pyongyang.

But some senators left the meeting with the feeling that they had not received any “new” information or any details about possible changes in US policy toward the North Korean regime.

An undated file photo released by the North Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), the state news agency of North Korea, shows an ‘underwater test-fire of strategic submarine ballistic missile’ conducted at an undisclosed location in North Korea (reissued 22 March 2017). According to media reports quoting a spokesman of the South Korean Defense Ministry, North Korea has test-fired several missiles in a suspected failed test on 22 March. The exact number or type of missiles being fired was not immediately known. US military announced on 21 March that they expected North Korea to perform missile tests in the following days. North Korea is under tough UN sanctions following its recent nuclear and missile tests at a moment of great tension in the Korean peninsula. EPA/KCNA EDITORIAL USE ONLY

Democratic Sen. Chris Van Hollen told CNN as much, and a Republican senator, speaking on condition of anonymity with The Washington Post, said that several of his colleagues had asked the White House what the administration’s policy toward North Korea was now but received “very few details.”

This senator said that the conclusion he drew was that the administration wanted to prepare lawmakers for the possibility that tensions with North Korea could escalate very rapidly.

The session came two days after Trump urged the UN Security Council to impose additional stronger sanctions on North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic programs, and on Friday Tillerson will head a ministerial meeting in the Council to urge all countries to strictly implement the existing sanctions and study other ways of increasing pressure on Pyongyang.