President Donald Trump wants to pressure North Korea through tighter sanctions and diplomatic channels, but the United States is "prepared to defend" itself and allies, top Trump administration officials said in a statement Wednesday.
As a standoff escalated over the reclusive Asian nation's development of nuclear weapons and long-range ballistic missiles, Trump invited all 100 members of the Senate to attend the session with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and Marine General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
"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 our allies and regional partners," Tillerson, Mattis and Coats said in a joint statement following the briefing with senators.
The officials said they are working with allies to "increase pressure" on Pyongyang and "convince the regime and de-escalate and return to the path of dialogue." They added that the U.S. seeks "peaceful denuclearization."
Trump has called for a review of U.S. policy toward North Korea. The president said Monday the United Nations Security Council should prepare for the possibility of adopting new, tougher sanctions.