Published: Mon, April 10, 2017
Global | By Maureen Mccoy

Tillerson says US missile strikes carry message for others

Tillerson says US missile strikes carry message for others

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

North Korea has vowed to bolster its defenses to protect itself against airstrikes like the ones President Donald Trump ordered against an air base in Syria.

In an interview with ABC's "This Week", Tillerson conveyed this message: "If you violate global agreements, if you fail to live up to commitments, if you become a threat to others, at some point a response is likely to be undertaken".

There was little doubt the missile strikes would be seen in Pyongyang as a message.

Along with its rapidly advancing nuclear and long-range missile capabilities, the North has its artillery and short-range missiles trained on Seoul, the capital of US ally South Korea and a city of more than 10 million people. Underscoring that point, Washington has recently deployed numerous strategic assets to the peninsula as part of annual joint war games with the South. On Saturday night, the Pentagon said a Navy carrier strike group was moving toward the western Pacific Ocean to provide more of a physical presence in the region.

Last week, President Trump was briefed by the National Security Council on possible military actions against the authoritarian state. "I think that in North Korea, it's an enormous unknown". The US removed its nukes from South Korea 25 years ago; putting them back would be the first time US nuclear weapons were located overseas since the Cold War.

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"The US missile strike against Syria is a clear and unforgivable aggression against a sovereign state and we strongly condemn it", EFE news cited a North Korean Foreign Ministry statement as saying.

But according to one White House official, Trump is not ruling anything out when it comes to dealing with Pyongyang.

North Korea has shown signs of preparing for a test of an intercontinental ballistic missile, which could potentially deliver a nuclear warhead to the USA mainland, and a sixth nuclear test.

President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping walk together after their meetings at Mar-a-Lago, April 7, 2017, in Palm Beach, Florida.

Rather than continue its tough talk on North Korea, Markey told CNN's "New Day" on Thursday that Trump should ask Xi "to tighten the screws" with economic sanctions.

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