Every Senator invited to White House for classified briefing on North KoreaDaily Mail
April 24, 2017
US defense leaders and other top officials will give a classified briefing on North Korea to all senators in an unusual meeting at the White House, the Pentagon said Monday.
The briefing will be conducted Wednesday by Pentagon chief Jim Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and General Joe Dunford, who is America's top officer and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
They 'will be briefing all senators on the current strategic situation with regards to North Korea,' Pentagon spokesman Navy Captain Jeff Davis said.
While lawmakers often receive classified briefings, these are usually conducted in secure rooms in the Capitol building and not at the White House.
The briefing comes at a time of soaring tensions between Washington and Pyongyang.
An official North Korean website warned Monday that Pyongyang will 'wipe out' the United States if Washington starts a war on the peninsula, the latest tit-for-tat saber-rattling between the two countries.
The United States has deployed an aircraft carrier strike group led by the USS Carl Vinson to the western Pacific, and observers say North Korea appears to be readying a sixth nuclear test.
US officials have warned that 'all options are on the table' in dealing with the North Korean threat but have so far relied on China to rein in its unpredictable ally.
There are 100 senators. It was not immediately known if all of them were expected to attend Wednesday's meeting, which is taking place at 3pm EST.
The invitation was revealed after the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations warned North Korea on Monday that Americans 'don't want war, so don't start one.'
Nikki Haley said on ABC's 'Good Morning America' that the when the communist country's government seized an American teacher on Friday, it risked sparking an all-out military conflict.
Kim Sang Duk, also known as Tony Kim, was teaching at Pyongyang University of Science and Technology. He was detained as he prepared to board a plane out of the country.
'I think that North Korea has been playing games from the very beginning. What we're seeing is that Kim Jong-Un is really trying to show his strength to the people of North Korea,' Haley said.
'I think that just by detaining a prisoner is one more way he's trying to show his strength, and it's not going to work.'
President Donald Trump convened a lunch on Monday with members of the UN Security Council, joking about Haley's work.
'She's doing a good job. Now, does everybody like Nikki? Because if you don't - otherwise, she can easily be replaced,' he said, to laughter.
'No, we won't do that, I promise. We won't do that. She's doing a fantastic job.'
Haley said on 'CBS This Morning' that the U.S. is working hand-in-glove with the Chinese government to put pressure on North Korea, and it's beginning to work.
'I think we're going to handle it properly, and I think we'll have to use China to do that,' she said.
She added on NBC's 'Today' show that 'Kim Jong-Un is starting to flex his muscles because he feels the pressure' from his Chinese ally.
Haley said on ABC, however, that the U.S. isn't interested in a Chinese proposal that would call for an end to joint U.S.-South Korea military exercises in exchange for Pyongyang's pledge to stop developing its nuclear missile program.
'We're not going to do that,' she said.