The Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing on U.S. policy towards North Korea, including testimony from the State Department's special representative for North Korea, Glyn T. Davies.
Earlier Thursday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously approved a fourth round of sanctions against North Korea aimed at slowing down its nuclear programs.
The resolution was drafted by the United States and China, North Korea's closest ally. The council's agreement to put the resolution to a vote just 48 hours later signaled that it would almost certainly have the support of all 15 council members.
The United States does not have normalized diplomatic relations with North Korea. The current leader, Kim Jong Un, came to power after the death of his father in 2011. Since that time, he has given mixed messages about his position on relations with the outside world.
Kim successfully launched a satellite shortly after taking power, which was widely viewed by the foreign policy community as a veiled test for an intercontinental missile system. Earlier this year, the North Koreans detonated a nuclear device in an underground test site, leading experts to believe that they are inching closer to a viable nuclear weapons system.
Davies testimony was follwed by a panel that included: Stephen W. Bosworth, dean of The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University; Robert G. Joseph, senior scholar at the National Institute for Public Policy; and Joseph DeTrani, president of the Intelligence and National Security Alliance.