US defense leaders and other top officials will give a classified briefing on North Korea to all senators in an unusual meeting at the White House, the Pentagon said Monday.
The briefing will be conducted Wednesday by Pentagon chief Jim Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and General Joe Dunford, who is America’s top officer and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
They “will be briefing all senators on the current strategic situation with regards to North Korea,” Pentagon spokesman Navy Captain Jeff Davis said.
While lawmakers often receive classified briefings, these are usually conducted in secure rooms in the Capitol building and not at the White House.
The briefing comes at a time of soaring tensions between Washington and Pyongyang.
An official North Korean website warned Monday that Pyongyang will “wipe out” the United States if Washington starts a war on the peninsula, the latest tit-for-tat saber-rattling between the two countries.
The United States has deployed an aircraft carrier strike group led by the USS Carl Vinson to the western Pacific, and observers say North Korea appears to be readying a sixth nuclear test.
US officials have warned that “all options are on the table” in dealing with the North Korean threat but have so far relied on China to rein in its unpredictable ally.
The United States has 100 senators. It was not immediately known if all of them were expected to attend Wednesday’s meeting, which is taking place at about 1900 GMT.
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