US aims to pressure DPRK by sanctions, diplomacy

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U.S. President Donald Trump aims to use economic sanctions and diplomatic measures to pressure Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) into dismantling its nuclear and missile programs, U.S. officials said Wednesday.

"We are engaging responsible members of the international community to increase pressure on the DPRK in order to convince the regime to de-escalate and return to the path of dialogue," senior U.S. officials said in a statement.

The statement, jointly issued by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, came after they briefed members of Congress on Washington's policy towards the DPRK on Wednesday.

The senior officials said the U.S. seeks stability and the peaceful denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, calling DPRK's pursuit of nuclear weapons "an urgent national security threat and top foreign policy priority."

"We remain open to negotiations towards that goal. However, we remain prepared to defend ourselves and our Allies," said the statement.

After the briefing, one senator told The Washington Post that members of both parties left frustrated that they were given "very few details about what has changed."

The briefing lacked "even straight answers on what the policy is regarding North Korea (the DPRK) and its testing of ICBMs (intercontinental ballistic missiles)," said the senator, who requested anonymity to speak frankly about the meeting.

"Several senators asked specifically, 'What is the policy?' and the briefers gave us very, very few details," the senator told the newspaper.

An unarmed intercontinental ballistic missile was launched by the U.S. on Wednesday morning during an operational test from an air base in California just after midnight amid growing tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

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