Compromise defense bill would require Trump submit N. Korea strategy

Compromise defense bill would require Trump submit N. Korea strategy
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The final version of the annual defense policy would require President Trump to submit his North Korea strategy to Congress.

“The conferees note that ... the United States should act to counter North Korea's continued development and testing of nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles,” House and Senate negotiators wrote in a conference report released Thursday.

U.S.-North Korea tensions have ratcheted up in recent months as Pyongyang advances its nuclear and missile programs and as Trump engages in a war of words with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

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Trump has been traveling through Asia this week, where he warned North Korea not to “try us” and urged Kim to “make a deal.”

The Senate-passed version of the National Defense Authorization Act would have required the Defense secretary to submit a North Korea strategy to Congress within 90 days after passage.

The House-passed version, meanwhile, only included a sense of Congress about the threat posed by North Korea.

The compromise bill released Thursday retains the strategy required in the Senate version, but now says it must come from the president instead of the Defense secretary.

The strategy would need to include an assessment of the primary threats from North Korea; a description of known violations of United Nations Security Council resolutions; a description of relations between North Korea and China, and North Korea and Russia; and a “detailed roadmap” to reach desired diplomatic, economic and security objectives on the Korean peninsula.

The strategy would also have to identify the resources and authorities needed to carry out the roadmap, any capability or resource gaps that would affect the implementation of the strategy, unilateral and multilateral options available to the United States, and current and desired partner contributions to counter North Korean threats.

The strategy would have to be updated annually.

“The United States should fully enforce all existing sanctions on North Korea and undertake a comprehensive diplomatic effort to urge allies and other countries to fully enforce, and build upon, existing international sanctions,” the conference report says. “The United States should retain diplomatic, economic, and military options to defend against and pressure North Korea to abandon its illicit weapons program.”