US Defense Secretary James Mattis (L) and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford are seen after briefing US senators on the situation in North Korea. Photo: AFP/Mandel Ngan

US national security officials stressed the importance of using diplomacy to put a stop to North Korea’s pursuit of military weapons in briefings on Wednesday.

Speaking to the US House Armed Services Committee, Commander of the US Pacific Command, Admiral Harry Harris assured that the US does not want regime change on the Korean peninsula.

“We want to bring Kim Jong-un to his senses, not to his knees, Harris said, echoing Trump administration statements that the US is not looking to overthrow Kim.

A joint statement released by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary James Mattis emphasized that “the United States seeks stability and the peaceful denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. We remain open to negotiations towards that goal.”

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