Senators to Meet Secretly Over North Korea Tests

     WASHINGTON (CN) — Meeting behind closed doors Monday, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will gather to assess increasing nuclear tensions in North Korea and its impact on the surrounding region.
     The meeting comes just days after the U.S. responded to the authoritarian state’s fifth confirmed nuclear test by sending two of its own supersonic rockets over South Korean skies.
     North Korea fired off its test missile last week. The ballistic travelled 310 miles, effectively putting all of South Korea and portions of Japan within striking distance.
     U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry condemned the test at a United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York on Sunday. South Korea Foreign Affairs Minister Yun Byung-se and Fumio Kishida, his Japanese counterpart, also reportedly joined Kerry in condemning the recent test.
     Kerry told reporters that the three nations would “make it clear to a reckless dictator that all he is doing through his actions is isolating his country, isolating his people and depriving his people of genuine economic opportunity,” the Associated Press reported.
     He also warned that “the global community [would not] be intimidated” nor would it retreat on any of its obligations. So far, calls for North Korean President Kim Jong-un to cease all nuclear missile programs immediately have gone ignored.
     The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee met two weeks ago to discuss the Obama administration’s proposed ratification of the U.N. nuclear test ban treaty. If ratified, the treaty would end nuclear testing entirely. Only eight nations, including the U.S. and North Korea, have yet to sign the agreement.
     South Korean President Park Geun-hye has given terse orders to its country’s military to “finish off” North Korea if it comes under attack by what she called its “fanatic” and “reckless” neighbor.
     Jesse Karotkin, deputy national intelligence manager for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, will debrief committee members Monday.
     Karotkin was unable to be reached for comment by phone or email prior to Monday’s hearing.

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