U.S. senators reassured, but hear nothing new in North Korea briefing

By Mike Bambach  |  April 26, 2017 at 10:01 PM
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April 26 (UPI) -- U.S. senators said they heard nothing new Wednesday in a "sobering briefing" on North Korea during a rare visit to the White House by the entire Senate.

Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., said there was no talk about a preemptive strike on North Korea during an hour-long update from top officials in President Donald Trump's administration, including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats.

The briefing offered few new details -- "nothing you couldn't read in the newspaper," said Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore.

But it was "a sobering briefing," Coons said, "and an important opportunity for the entire Senate to hear the emerging plans of the Trump administration to confront what is a very real threat to our security."

Members from both parties said they were reassured by administration plans to deal with an increasingly tense standoff by applying economic and diplomatic pressure on North Korea and leader Kim Jong Un.

Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, said it's clear the administration will pressure China and other nations in the region "to get the results we need, which is peaceful denuclearization."

Trump, who extended the invitation at the request of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.), did not attend but briefly stopped by the closed-door meeting at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on White House grounds.

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