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 President Donald Trump received a briefing on Tuesday from Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on military options concerning North Korea, Korea JoongAng Daily reported, citing a White House statement.

“The briefing and discussion focused on a range of options to respond to any form of North Korean aggression,” the White House said in the statement after the meeting, “or, if necessary, to prevent North Korea from threatening the United States and its allies with nuclear weapons.”

JoongAng said the statement implied military options, which could include a preventative war plan or pre-emptive strike.

Trump also had a luncheon with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Mattis on Tuesday, amid a continuing backlash from US legislators for making statements that contradicted diplomatic efforts to resolve the Korea crisis by his cabinet.

Kissinger meeting

The President, in another Tuesday meeting, sat down with former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in the Oval Office to get his advice on the crisis.

“I’m here at a moment when the opportunity to build a constructive, peaceful world order is very great,” said Kissinger, who served under the Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford administrations, at the beginning of his meeting with Trump. “And the president is leaving on a trip to Asia, which I think will make a big contribution to progress and peace and prosperity.”

No details emerged on what Kissinger told Trump. But Kissinger has publicly proposed that the US withdraw its troops from South Korea in exchange for a complete resolution of the nuclear issue with the North and in order to allay China’s fears.

Kissinger stressed in an August Op-Ed in the Wall Street Journal that understanding between Washington and Beijing is a “prerequisite,” also stressing Japan and South Korea’s critical roles in resolving the North Korea issue.

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