One Republican senator told The Washington Post's Ed O'Keefe that, when pressed for details on what USA policy towards North Korea is, "the briefers gave us very, very few details", and noted that the event lacked "even straight answers on what the policy is regarding N. Korea and its testing of ICBMs".
Senators preparing to attend an unusual all-hands meeting on North Korea at the White House Wednesday said they are eager to hear President Donald Trump's views on the increasingly tense standoff with Pyongyang.
"Obviously an assessment of what could be the greatest threat that we face since the Cuban missile crisis - I think it's very helpful to hear from the president of the United States", said Senator John McCain.
Wednesday's briefings will focus on three key issues related to North Korea's nuclear program: intelligence about the North's capabilities; USA response options, including military ones; and how to get China and other countries to enforce existing economic sanctions on Pyongyang, along with ideas for new penalties.
"The United States seeks stability and the peaceful denuclearization of the Korean peninsula". "We remain open to negotiations towards that goal". The briefing team was to speak later to House members in the Capitol. While the administration has said repeatedly that military strikes remain an option, officials have stressed tougher sanctions given the risks of massive North Korean retaliation. David Perdue (R-GA) - praised the White House for inviting both Democrats and Republicans to the briefing, and for trying to engage with senators.
A senior administration official said military preparations are underway in the chance that they become necessary regarding North Korea.
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Earlier on Wednesday, the USA military moved parts of an anti-missile defense system to a deployment site in South Korea, triggering protests from villagers and by China - whose help is vital to agreeing and implementing tougher economic sanctions to try to persuade North Korea to abandon its weapons programs.
A targeted attack to take out North Korea's growing nuclear weapons program could spark a wider war on the Korean peninsula, lawmakers and experts on North Korea have warned. Harris said the THAAD would be operational within days.
"I believe that our ballistic missile architecture is sufficient to protect Hawaii today, but it can be overwhelmed", Harris said.
Harris said the defenses of Hawaii were sufficient for now but could one day be overwhelmed, and suggested studying stationing new radar there as well as interceptors to knock out any incoming North Korean missiles.
At their meeting earlier this month, Trump said he told China's Xi Jinping that "the way you're gonna make a good trade deal [with the US] is to help us with North Korea, otherwise we're just going to go it alone".
Adm Harris said he believed that North Korea would try to attack the USA as soon as it had the military capabilities.
"China strongly urges the United States and South Korea to stop actions that worsen regional tensions and harm China's strategic security interests and cancel the deployment of the THAAD system and withdraw the equipment", Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a briefing.