Top Trump administration officials have told U.S. senators that their goal is to push North Korea into dismantling its nuclear and missile programs through tougher international sanctions and diplomatic pressure.
Despite repeated warnings to Pyongyang in recent weeks that suggested Washington was eyeing military action, the officials told legislators at an unusual briefing of the entire Senate at the White House on April 26 that they hoped to avoid intervening militarily and the administration remained open to negotiations with the renegade nation.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats described North Korea as "an urgent national security threat" intent on developing the capability of launching nuclear missiles that can hit the United States.
"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," they said in a statement.
"The United States seeks stability and the peaceful denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. We remain open to negotiations toward that goal. However, we remain prepared to defend ourselves and our allies," they said.