White House briefs Senate amid scary moment with North Korea

According to the Yonhap news agency, the parts include two or three launchers, intercept missiles and a radar.

The meeting, in addition with an increased US military presence in the Asia Pacific, is just part of an all-hands-on-deck approach to how the Trump administration will tackle North Korea's nuclear ambitions.

The work to set up the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense system, or THAAD, within this year has angered North Korea, China and Russian Federation, which see the system's powerful radars as a security threat.

In a joint statement, US Secretary Defence chief Jim Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Director National Intelligence Dan Coats said Washington will use diplomatic measures and additional sanctions to pressure North Korea into dismantling its nuclear, ballistic missile, and proliferation programs.

North Korea's drills coincided with military exercises held by US and South Korean navies in the Yellow Sea, off the western coast of the Korean Peninsula.

It said the Trump administration is engaging responsible members of the worldwide community to increase pressure on North Korea in order to convince the regime to de-escalate and return to the path of dialogue.

The South is holding a presidential election next month to choose a successor to ousted leader Park Geun-hye, and Seoul and Washington are pressing ahead with the deployment with some candidates expressing ambivalence over the system. Cruz said he was "cautiously optimistic that we are seeing early signs that China is helping and cooperating and reining in North Korea.Time will tell".

Asked about the threshold for USA action, Haley told American broadcaster NBC that "if you see him attack a military base, if you see some sort of intercontinental ballistic missile, then obviously we're going to do that". Moon's closest competitor, Ahn Cheol-soo, has voiced support for THAAD deployment, but has also said he would be willing to ask the U.S.to withdraw the system of China agrees to aggressively pressure North Korea to give up its nuclear ambitions.

North Korean news outlets have also said that the country is prepared to attack the USS Carl Vinson's strike group if provoked.

The drill marked the 85th anniversary of the founding of North Korea's military in which people dance at an outdoor party in the capital city of Pyongyang.

United States defence leaders and other top officials are to give a classified briefing on North Korea to all senators in an unusual meeting at the White House later Wednesday.

"We want to bring Kim Jong Un to his senses, not to his knees", Harris said.

While tensions have increased since Mr Trump took office, they have escalated dramatically in recent weeks as American and other intelligence agencies suggested the North was readying for a possible nuclear test.

North Korea's long-range artillery drills were conducted near Wonsan, along the country's east coast, according to the South Korean military.

In Washington, top Trump administration officials are due to brief the entire U.S. Senate on Wednesday.

"It's important for the DPRK to remind the South that very large swathes of the South Korean population are within artillery range of the North", he said, using the official name for North Korea.

Still, Pentagon officials have stressed to Trump there are no easy options for military interventions in North Korea. Chinese President Xi Jinping, who spoke to Trump on Monday, is urging restraint from both North Korea and the U.S. In this Monday, April 24, 2017 photo released by the U.S. Navy, the Ohio-class guided-missile submarine USS Michigan arrives in Busan, South Korea, for a scheduled port visi.

In addition to holding joint naval exercises in the Yellow Sea, the United States and South Korea have been staging military maneuvers in Pocheon, northeast of Seoul, demonstrating some of their latest weapons.

China opposes the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense system, or THAAD, being installed in South Korea. He said China will take "necessary measures to defend our own interests".

  • Leroy Wright