Tillerson says missile strikes carry a message for others

PYONGYANG, Korea, Democratic People's Republic Of - North Korea has vowed to bolster its defences to protect itself against airstrikes like the ones President Donald Trump ordered against an air base in Syria.

"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", Tillerson told ABC's "This Week".

"The missile strikes yesterday in Syria do send a message both to China and to North Korea that this administration is prepared to take decisive actions", said Tony Blinken, former deputy secretary of state, during a phone interview with VOA Friday, "and that may be a valuable message". The North has long claimed that the U.S.is preparing some kind of assault against it and justifies its nuclear weapons as defensive in nature.

They include placing more missile defenses in the region, having a greater USA military presence on the seas, and sanctioning anyone, including Chinese firms and individuals, that does business or facilitates business with the Kim regime. 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. The missile launches coincided with Trump's first official encounter with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Florida to discuss North Korea, among other things. The North called the USA action in Syria "absolutely unpardonable" and said it proves that its nuclear weapons are justified to protect the country against Washington's "evermore reckless moves for a war".

USA missile attacks against Syria sent a stern warning to North Korea and China that the United States is ready to use military force if necessary, said a senior official from the Obama administration. The report did not name the official, which is common in KCNA reports.

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 USA ally South Korea and a city of more than 10 million people. The two leaders also agreed to strengthen cooperation over the problem of North Korea developing nuclear arms and missiles.

"I think there's a shared view and no disagreement as to how unsafe the situation has become", Tillerson said on CBS' "Face the Nation".


The South Korean spokesman said the government's current policy of focusing on sanctions and pressure against North Korea is part of a broader process to use dialogue in solving the North Korean issues.

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"We will bolster up in every way our capability for self-defence to cope with the USA evermore reckless moves for a war and defend ourselves with our own force", it said.

Washington denies it has any intention of invading the North.

The Korean Peninsula remains technically at war since the 1950-53 Korean conflict ended with an armistice, not a formal peace treaty.

"I think a first step could be getting North Korea to freeze all of its activities - no more nuclear testing, no more missile testing, get inspectors in to verify things", Blinken said.

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