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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 slide in battle for Senate Conservatives bankrolled and dominated Kavanaugh confirmation media campaign Donnelly parodies 'Veep' in new campaign ad 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: Pentagon insists Mattis, Trump 'completely aligned' on leaving arms treaty | Trump 'not satisfied' with Saudi explanation on Khashoggi | Kushner says US still 'fact-finding' A solid budget requires tradeoffs Pentagon: Trump, Mattis 'completely aligned' on Russia arms treaty withdrawal 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) HaleyIn midst of political violence, America greatly needs unity Trump prefers woman for UN post, interviewing 5 candidates Mary Kissel expected to join State Department 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 TillersonWatchdog org: Tillerson used million in taxpayer funds to fly throughout US Trump administration rigging the game, and your retirement fund could be the loser Haley’s exit sends shockwaves through Washington MORE, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford and Director of National Intelligence Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsHillicon Valley: Intel chief wants tech, government to work more closely | Facebook doesn't believe foreign state behind hack | New net neutrality lawsuit | Reddit creates 'war room' to fight misinformation Hillicon Valley: Russia-linked hackers hit Eastern European companies | Twitter shares data on influence campaigns | Dems blast Trump over China interference claims | Saudi crisis tests Silicon Valley | Apple to let customers download their data Overnight Defense — Presented by The Embassy of the United Arab Emirates — Senators seek US intel on journalist's disappearance | Army discharged over 500 immigrant recruits in one year | Watchdog knocks admiral over handling of sexual harassment case 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.