Leaders Brief Congress on Review of North Korea Policy


Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, briefed members of Congress at the White House today on the review President Donald J. Trump ordered of U.S. policy toward North Korea.

Two members of the Republic of Korea Marine Corps carry a roll of concertina wire across Dogu Beach near the South Korean port city of Pohang, April 6, 2017, as they help prepare for Operation Pacific Reach Exercise 2017. The exercise, also known as OPRex17, is a bilateral training event designed to ensure readiness and sustain the capabilities which strengthen the ROK-U.S. alliance. (Combined Forces Command photo by Sgt. 1st Class John Queen/released)
South Korean marines carry a roll of concertina wire across Dogu Beach near the South Korean port city of Pohang as they help prepare for the Operation Pacific Reach exercise, April 6, 2017. The exercise is a bilateral training event designed to ensure readiness and sustain the capabilities that strengthen the South Korean-U.S. alliance. Combined Forces Command photo by Army Sgt. 1st Class John Queen
Two members of the Republic of Korea Marine Corps carry a roll of concertina wire across Dogu Beach near the South Korean port city of Pohang, April 6, 2017, as they help prepare for Operation Pacific Reach Exercise 2017. The exercise, also known as OPRex17, is a bilateral training event designed to ensure readiness and sustain the capabilities which strengthen the ROK-U.S. alliance. (Combined Forces Command photo by Sgt. 1st Class John Queen/released)
Pacific Reach
South Korean marines carry a roll of concertina wire across Dogu Beach near the South Korean port city of Pohang as they help prepare for the Operation Pacific Reach exercise, April 6, 2017. The exercise is a bilateral training event designed to ensure readiness and sustain the capabilities that strengthen the South Korean-U.S. alliance. Combined Forces Command photo by Army Sgt. 1st Class John Queen
Photo By: Sgt. 1st Class John Queen
VIRIN: 170406-A-AA002-001

After the briefing, Tillerson, Mattis and Coats released a joint statement.

“Past efforts have failed to halt North Korea’s unlawful weapons programs and nuclear and ballistic missile tests,” the statement said. “With each provocation, North Korea jeopardizes stability in Northeast Asia and poses a growing threat to our allies and the U.S. homeland.”

Urgent Threat, Top Priority

North Korea’s pursuit of nuclear weapons is an urgent national security threat and a top foreign policy priority, the statement said.

The president’s approach aims to pressure North Korea into dismantling its nuclear, ballistic missile and proliferation programs by tightening economic sanctions and pursuing diplomatic measures with allies and regional partners, the government leaders said.

“We are engaging responsible members of the international community to increase pressure on [North Korea] in order to convince the regime to de-escalate and return to the path of dialogue,” the statement said. “We will maintain our close coordination and cooperation with our allies, especially [South Korea] and Japan, as we work together to preserve stability and prosperity in the region.”

The United States seeks stability and the peaceful denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, the leaders said. “We remain open to negotiations towards that goal. However, we remain prepared to defend ourselves and our allies,” they added.