Senators received a rare briefing at the White House on Wednesday from the President Trump’s national security team on North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, which has become one of the most pressing foreign policy challenges early on in the administration.
The statement said the administration is “engaging responsible members of the international community” – a veiled reference to China – to increase pressure on North Korea to de-escalate and return to the “path of dialogue.”
The statement also emphasized that the U.S. favors diplomacy over military action, but added that it remained “prepared to defend” itself and allies.
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.
While some critics argued the briefings were little more than a photo opportunity, others – including Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) – praised the White House for inviting both Democrats and Republicans to the briefing, and for trying to engage with senators.
After the Senate meeting was announced, the White House decided to hold a briefing for members of the House, but at the Capitol.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) after the meeting tweeted that it was “time to re-list” North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism, following a Reuters report saying that the administration was considering doing so.