Trump administration to brief full US Congress on North Korea policy

Harris said Thursday, April 27, 2017, that the crisis with North Korea is at the worst point he's ever seen, but he declined to compare the situation to the Cuban missile crisis decades ago. With tensions between the US and North Korea mounting, the gathering may have massive consequences for the region.

"However, we remain prepared to defend ourselves and our allies", the three top Trump administration officials said in a statement.

North Korea has carried out a series of missile launches in recent months and the USA has responded by deploying an aircraft carrier group to the region.

Testifying before the House Armed Services Committee, Harris said he expects North Korea, under Kim's autocratic rule, to soon be able to develop a long-range missile capable of striking the United States, despite some spectacular failures in its ballistic missile program.

"South Korea and the USA maintain a consistent position on dialogue - if North Korea takes the path to denuclearization with sincerity, the door for dialogue will open". Trump's top national security advisers said they were "open to negotiations" with the North, though they gave no indication of when or under what circumstances.

A rapid tempo of North Korean weapons testing in the past year has pushed Kim Jong Un's authoritarian nation closer to developing a nuclear-armed missile that could reach the US mainland.

China has been angered, however, by U.S. deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, missile defense system in South Korea, complaining that its radar can see deep into China and undermines its security.

Hours after a display of North Korean military power, rival South Korea announced Wednesday the installation of key parts of a contentious USA missile defence system meant to counter the North.

The entire US Senate will go to the White House on Wednesday to be briefed by senior administration officials about the brewing confrontation with North Korea.

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The unprecedented meeting in a building adjacent to the White House reflected the increased American alarm over North Korea's progress in developing a nuclear-tipped missile that could strike the USA mainland.

"With each provocation, North Korea jeopardizes stability in Northeast Asia and poses a growing threat to our allies and the US homeland", they said.

With speculation soaring over another nuclear test, Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and the secretaries have been sharply ratcheting up pressure against the Kim Jong-un regime.

On Saturday, United States Vice President Mike Pence said that the carrier group would arrive "within days", but revealed no further details.

Tillerson will be "very vocal" about nations enforcing sanctions on North Korea, State Department spokesman Mark Toner said. It vowed victory in a "death-defying struggle against the US imperialists". It said that Seoul and Washington have been pushing to get THAAD quickly working to cope with North Korea's advancing nuclear and missile threats. "What we're endeavoring to do is to work with partners in the region and others to isolate the North Korean ballistic missile programme and the nuclear programme from any sort of external support", the official said.

Abe also said he and Trump agreed that a larger role in dealing with Pyongyang should be played by China.

During a visit to Greece, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said there were already enough shows of force.

South Korea accuses China of discriminating against some South Korean companies operating in China because of the THAAD deployment.

China has opposed any move that runs counter to the UN Security Council resolutions already in place against North Korea.

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