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 DonnellySenate Dems build huge cash edge in battlegrounds Fed chief lays out risks of trade war Doug Jones walks tightrope on Supreme Court nominee 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).

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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: Trump tries to quell Russia furor | GOP looks to reassure NATO | Mattis open to meeting Russian counterpart Mattis open to meeting with Russian defense chief: report Overnight Defense: Fears rise over Trump-Putin summit | McCain presses Trump to hold Putin 'accountable' for hacking | Pentagon does damage control after NATO meet 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) HaleyOvernight Defense: Trump tries to quell Russia furor | GOP looks to reassure NATO | Mattis open to meeting Russian counterpart Dem pollster: Haley would be 'very strong' presidential candidate Watchdog: First lady spokeswoman may have violated Hatch Act with ‘MAGA’ tweet 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 TillersonUS steps up its game in Africa, a continent open for business Matt Drudge shares mock ‘Survivor’ cover suggesting more White House officials will leave this summer 'Daily Show' trolls Trump over Pruitt's resignation MORE, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford and Director of National Intelligence Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsDespite clarification, Trump's Russia remarks put intel chiefs in tough spot Senate weighs new Russia response amid Trump backlash Putin’s ‘incredible offer’ is a ploy to learn what we know and how we know it 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.