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All 100 senators head to White House for classified briefing on North Korea

Senators board buses at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. (Saul Loeb / AFP/Getty Images)
Senators board buses at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. (Saul Loeb / AFP/Getty Images)

The Trump administration hosted senators for an extraordinary White House briefing Wednesday at a perilous moment with North Korea, marked by nuclear threats from the unpredictable nation and stern talk of military action, if necessary, from the United States.

All 100 senators were invited and taken in buses for the unprecedented, classified briefing. President Trump's secretary of State, Defense secretary, top general and national intelligence director were to outline for them North Korea's escalating nuclear capabilities and U.S. response options, officials said. The briefing team was to meet later with House members in the Capitol.

The unusual sessions don't necessarily presage the use of force along one of the world's most heavily militarized frontiers, and some lawmakers questioned whether the cross-Washington procession was largely show, with Trump expected to drop in on the Eisenhower Executive Office Building gathering of lawmakers.

But it certainly reflected the increased American alarm over North Korea's progress in developing a nuclear-tipped missile that could strike the U.S. mainland. And the recent flurry of military activity on and around the divided Korean peninsula has put the world at high alert.

Tension has escalated since Trump took office three months ago, determined to halt Pyongyang's nuclear and missile advances.

America's Pacific forces commander, Adm. Harry Harris Jr., told Congress on Wednesday that a contentious missile defense system would be operational within days. He said any North Korean missile fired at U.S. forces would be destroyed.

"If it flies, it will die," Harris said.

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