Corker: North Korean Dictator Thinks Nukes Are 'His Ticket to Life'

Susan Jones | April 25, 2017 | 10:01am EDT
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In this Saturday, April 15, 2017, photo, bronze statues of late leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il are paraded across Kim Il Sung Square during a military parade to celebrate the 105th birth anniversary of Kim Il Sung in Pyongyang, North Korea. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)

(  - All 100 U.S. senators have been invited to the White House Wednesday for a briefing on North Korea, but it’s “not a White House briefing,” presidential spokesman Sean Spicer told reporters on Monday.

“This is a Senate briefing convened by the Majority Leader (Mitch McConnell), not a White House briefing. We are just serving as the location,” Spicer told reporters on Monday.

The senators will be briefed by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Defense Secretary James Mattis, National Intelligence Director Dan Coats, and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford.

“I don’t think we’re going to hear a great deal different than what is out in the open press,” Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Tuesday.

Corker said he’s been in touch with administration officials regarding North Korea's belligerence, and he plans to have dinner tonight with President Trump on that topic.

“Look, at the end of the day, this young leader believes that if he develops a deliverable nuclear weapon to the United States, he will die as an old man in his bed -- very different than the outcome of Gadhafi in Libya, who gave up his weapons of mass destruction. And at the end of the day, you know, obviously China is the key, and it’s almost trite to say that and everyone understands that.

I think that without regime change, and I’m not talking about some kind of kinetic activity today or anything else; but the fact is, I think that’s what he’s heck-bent on developing, because he thinks that’s his ticket to life, and I think it’s very difficult to overcome a situation like that.

Corker noted that a “miscalculation in the region” would bring in China, Russia South Korea, and Japan: “So we’ve got to be very careful as we move ahead.”

Appearing with Corker on “Morning Joe,” Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) said the United States needs to have a “credible military plan” to deal with North Korea, but “significant sanctions” may also work:

“To circle the pressure on them, is, I think, the most likely next step. That’s what I think we’ll hear at the White House tomorrow from the Trump administration.”

Press reports on Tuesday said a U.S. guided-missile submarine has arrived in South Korea, as diplomats from the United States, Japan and South Korea met in Tokyo Tuesday to discuss the growing threat from the north.

North Korea, meanwhile, held live-fire military drills to mark the anniversary of the founding of its military.

At the White House on Monday, President Trump said North Korea “is a real threat to the world, whether we want to talk about it or not. He said it’s time to “finally solve” this “big world problem. People have put blindfolds on for decades, and now it's time to solve the problem."

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley said the United States is not looking for a fight with North Korea and would not attack the country, unless its leader “gives us reason to do something." She praised China's increased pressure on North Korea.

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