In view of escalating threats from North Korea, all 100 US senators were invited to the White House Wednesday for a rare classified briefing on the crisis from the administration’s top security chiefs: Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Defense James Mattis, National Intelligence director Dan Coats and Chairman of the US chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford. Vice President Mike Pence has interrupted his Asian trip to attend. The briefing is set for 1900 hours GMT.
President Donald Trump, who spoke Sunday with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister
Shinzo Abe said: The status quo in North Korea is unacceptable. It’s a big problem, has been for decades and we must finally solve it.”
As North Korea prepares to mark the 85th anniversary on Tuesday of the founding of its Korean People's Army – a possible date for the regime to test military hardware – its official website warned Monday that Pyongyang will “wipe out” the United States if Washington starts a war on the peninsula.
US commercial satellite images have indicated increased activity around North Korea’s nuclear test site, while Kim has said that the country’s preparation for an ICBM launch is in its “final stage.” Earlier, Pyonyang threatened to sink the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier which is leading a strike group toward the Korean peninsula along with two Japanese destroyers.
Xi told Trump that China strongly opposed North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and hoped “all parties will exercise restraint and avoid aggravating the situation.” This drew an angry response from North Korean media: The state-owned KCNA news agency suggested Beijing was “dancing to the tune of others” and warned China of “catastrophic consequences”.