Dem pushes amendment to force Trump strategy on North Korea

Dem pushes amendment to force Trump strategy on North Korea
© Greg Nash

In the wake of Pyongyang's latest missile test, a Democratic senator is pushing to add an amendment to the annual defense policy bill that would require the Trump administration to submit a North Korea strategy to Congress.

“As we confront the serious threat that North Korea poses to the security of our country, our service members, and our allies in the region, we must have a clear, comprehensive strategy,” Sen. Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyDemocrats now attack internet rules they once embraced Dem group launches M ad buy to boost vulnerable senators Senate rejects Trump immigration plan MORE (D-Ind.) said in a statement Tuesday. “That plan must be realistic about our capabilities and the resources it would take to achieve our objectives.”

On Sunday, North Korea conducted its sixth missile test, its most powerful test to date. Pyongyang claimed the test was a successful one of a hydrogen bomb that could be loaded onto an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

The nuclear test, which followed a slew of provocative missile launches including two ICBM tests and an intermediate-range missile test that flew over Japan, drew widespread global condemnation and alarm.

Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisOvernight Defense: First Gitmo transfer under Trump could happen 'soon' | White House says Trump has confidence in VA chief | Russia concedes 'dozens' of civilians injured in Syria clash Pentagon: First Gitmo transfer under Trump could happen 'soon' Russia concedes 'dozens' of citizens injured in clash with US forces in Syria MORE warned of a “massive military response” if North Korea threatens the United States or its allies, and U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki HaleyNimrata (Nikki) HaleyHaley slams Palestinian president on peace process at the UN: 'We will not chase after you' Washington puts Ethiopia's human rights abusers on notice Palestinian diplomat: Trump ‘disqualified America’ from being sole broker in Middle East peace deal MORE warned that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is “begging for war.”

President Trump, meanwhile, floated the idea on Twitter of cutting off all trade with countries that do business with North Korea. He also said he would allow allies South Korea and Japan to purchase more “sophisticated” military equipment.

Under Donnelly’s amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the administration would have 90 days to develop a North Korea strategy that covers the threats posed by the country, the economic and political relationships between North Korea, China and Russia, and a “detailed roadmap” to achieving specific objectives, among other elements.

The administration would also have to identify the resources needed to achieve those goals and any currently existing gaps in capabilities. The plan would need to be updated quarterly. 

Mattis, Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonFormer WH adviser: Trump will want to rejoin Paris climate pact by 2020 Why the US should lead on protecting Rohingya Muslims 'Bolivarian Diaspora' can no longer be ignored MORE, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford and Director of National Intelligence Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsTop state election official questions why Trump is downplaying threat of Russian election interference: report Russian bots turn to gun control after Florida high school shooting: report The case alleging Russian collusion is not closed MORE are set to brief both chambers of Congress on Wednesday on North Korea and other topics.

The Senate is expected to take up the NDAA as soon as this week, or later this month.