North Korea blasts U.S. strikes on Syria, says justify nukes: state media

Sen. John Cornyn speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill

Sen. John Cornyn speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill

US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping held their first summit talks last week and agreed to increase cooperation to persuade the North to abandon its illicit weapons programs, according to the White House.

South Korea's top nuclear envoy made the comment after talks with his Chinese counterpart Wu Dawei.

In a call on Thursday, a day after North Korea's latest missile test, Abe said he and Trump had agreed the ballistic missile launch was "a risky provocation and a serious threat".

But convincing the North Korean leader to negotiate remains a challenge, Blinken added, suggesting the US could try "exerting so much pressure on Kim that he changes his calculus and sees that his best path to survival is actually through negotiations", while making clear that if the North engages in denuclearization, a peace treaty is certainly possible.

Tellingly, Chinese media readouts made no mention of the North Korea issue, despite USA briefings placing that item near the top of the agenda.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has appreciated the strong United States commitment to global security.

Wu did not speak to reporters.

State media report that North Korea says a U.S. missile strike on Syria "proves a million times over" that it was right to strengthen its nuclear programme. The relationship developed by President Xi and myself I think is outstanding.

The U.S. Navy strike group Carl Vinson canceled a planned trip to Australia and was moving toward the western Pacific Ocean near the Korean peninsula as a show of force, a U.S. official told Reuters over the weekend. Trump spoke publicly of progress on a range of issues in his first U.S.

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He was responding to mounting concerns here that the Trump government may seek a pre-emptive attack on the North similar to its recent airstrikes against Syria.

"We have 20 years of diplomacy and sanctions under our belt that has failed to stop the North Korean program", one senior intelligence official involved in the review told NBC News.

Kim said Wu repeated China's position on the THAAD deployment but did not give details.

The Syria strikes were an "intolerable act of aggression", he added.

Jia Qingguo, a professor of International Relations at Beijing University, said the North's nuclear arsenal and highly sensitive geopolitical position meant the fallout of any military action could be catastrophic.

"It probably is not realistic for the U.S.to attack North Korea", a Japanese defense ministry source said. "On March 11 alone, many enemy carrier-based aircraft flew along a course near territorial air and waters of the DPRK to stage drills of dropping bombs and making surprise attacks on the ground targets of its army".

South Korean and US forces are also involved in annual joint military drills that run until the end of April.

Pyongyang is on a quest to develop a long-range missile capable of hitting the United States mainland with a nuclear warhead, and has so far staged five nuclear tests, two of them past year. He is reportedly in the midst of developing intercontinental ballistic missiles which could be capable of sending a nuclear warhead into a United States' territory.

The North is also seen to be ready to conduct its sixth nuclear test at any time, with movements detected by satellites at its Punggye-ri nuclear test site.

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