North Korea blasts US strikes on Syria, says justify nukes: state media

Violet Powell
April 10, 2017

North Korea lashed out at the us missile strike on a Syrian air base, calling it an "absolutely unpardonable" act that only justifies its nuclear-weapons program.

On Sunday, a North Korean Foreign Ministry official was quoted on state-run media as vowing to step up the country's defenses to protect itself from airstrikes like the US carried out against Syria last week.

One official who was part of the NSC review said he doesn't think deploying nukes to South Korea amid the "war today" state the USA now faces with North Korea "buys more for us than it costs".

"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 official continued.

The strike was launched shortly after Trump dined with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the start of a two-day summit that is expected to be dominated by the growing threat from the North, which has conducted two nuclear tests and almost 30 missile launches since previous year.

"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".

The strike group has participated in numerous exercises with Japan and the South Korea and conducted routine patrol operations in the South China Sea since its January 5 deployment from San Diego, California, the Navy statement said.

North Korea has long claimed that the United States is preparing to conduct similar precision strikes against its territory or even launch an all-out invasion.

The timing of the strike during a U.S.

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The North has carried out five nuclear tests - two of them past year - and expert satellite imagery analysis suggests it could well be preparing for a sixth.

Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad is a key diplomatic ally of North Korea.

Tensions have been higher than usual because the annual war games between the USA and South Korean militaries are underway.

At the time of the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, the then North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il disappeared from public view for around six weeks - and was widely believed to have gone into hiding for fear of a U.S. attack.

Trump and South Korea's leader, acting President Hwang Kyo-Ahn, spoke by phone on Friday, according to the White House, which said they agreed to stay in close contact about North Korea and other issues.

Earlier this month, North Korea tested a liquid-fuelled Scud missile which only travelled a fraction of its range.

Defying UN sanctions, North Korea is believed to be building its nuclear arsenal and developing missiles capable of hitting the United States. The U.S. - after former President Barack Obama's infamous "red line" declaration - then opted not to take military action against the Assad regime. Unlike Syria, North Korea has a means of striking back.

'We feel the increased presence is necessary, ' the anonymous official said, citing North Korea's worrisome behavior. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said on CNN Saturday, reiterating his role as a chief critic of the Trump administration's strike against Syrian regime targets Thursday night.

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