North Korea says Syria airstrikes prove its nukes justified

Apr 10, 2017, 01:54

Abe said he and Trump "frankly exchanged opinions" over the issue of Syria as well as North Korea, following Thursday's USA military strike on a Syrian military airfield from which a chemical attack was allegedly launched, killing dozens of civilians including children.

Lawmakers say US President Donald Trump needs to work with Congress on a "long-term" Syria strategy following last week's US missile strike.

"The number one threat in the region continues to be North Korea due to its reckless, irresponsible and destabilizing program of missile tests and pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability", U.S. Pacific Command spokesman Dave Benham told reporters. "It is in this vital, national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons".

Trump responded by saying that the missile attack was meant to make sure chemical weapons will never again be used following the casualties among Syrian civilians, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Koichi Hagiuda said. The Syrian government denied carrying out the chemical attack.

"President Trump said he and President Xi held in-depth discussions on the seriousness of North Korea's nuclear problem and how to respond to it, and also said he had conveyed the USA position on the Thaad deployment", the statement said.

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The pro-independence Liberty Times said Trump was "shaking hands with Xi Jinping with his left hand and launching missiles with his right" to pressure China to rein in North Korea.

The telephone talks between the two leaders followed a similar conversation on Thursday in which they agreed that Wednesday's missile firing by the North into the Sea of Japan was a unsafe provocative act and a grave threat to Japan's security.

Sunday's Abe-Trump conversation also comes as a U.S. Navy carrier group headed to the Korean Peninsula amid signs that Pyongyang is preparing for a sixth nuclear test.

"Some forces are loud-mouthed that the recent USA military attack on Syria is an action of warning us but we are not frightened by it", the report said, adding that the North's "tremendous military muscle with a nuclear force as its pivot" will foil any aggression by the U.S.

According to one USA official, initial assessments indicate that up to 20 Syrian aircraft were destroyed after the US hit Syria's al Shayrat airbase with more than 50 Tomahawk cruise missiles Thursday. "But as he consulted with us by notice on this attack, it's incumbent upon him to consult with Congress".

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