ESCALATING

Report: N. Korea Stages Massive Live-Fire Drill

North Korea held what appears to have been the largest live-fire drill in its history on Tuesday to mark the founding of its military, even as a nuclear-powered U.S. submarine arrived in South Korea in a show of force with Seoul. South Korea’s Yonhap news agency said North Korean authorities pulled out numerous long-range artillery units for the drill near the eastern port city of Wonsan on Tuesday, the 85th anniversary of the military’s founding. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is thought to have attended the large-scale drill, Yonhap reported, citing a government source. The drill comes after North Korean state media defiantly said it was prepared to bring the “history of U.S. scheming and nuclear blackmail” to a close. It also coincided with the arrival of the nuclear-powered USS Michigan in South Korea on Tuesday, both a show of solidarity with Seoul and a warning to Pyongyang.

North Korea’s threats of missile strikes and vows to conduct further nuclear tests have prompted alarm in the White House. In an unusual move, President Trump’s administration has summoned the entire U.S. Senate and top defense officials to a briefing on the matter at the White House on Wednesday. The briefing, confirmed by White House press secretary Sean Spicer on Monday, will be led by Trump’s top defense officials: Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, and Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The briefing, originally scheduled to be held in a secure room at the Capitol, was shifted to the White House at Trump’s request, with congressional aides saying the move was intended to show Pyongyang U.S. resolve in imposing a stricter policy, Reuters reported.