Airstrikes on Syria might also send message to North Korea

A combination of file photos show U.S. President Donald Trump (L) in Washington March 1, 2017 and Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo November 18, 2014.

Sen. Edward Markey is calling on President Donald Trump to engage in direct negotiations with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as part of a proposed joint effort with China to reduce North Korea's nuclear threat.

In the talks held in Florida on Friday, Trump and Xi shared the urgency of the threat of North Korea's weapons program, reaffirmed their commitment to a denuclearized Korean Peninsula and committed to fully implement U.N. Security Council resolutions.

The report comes days after Trump ordered airstrikes on a Syrian air base in retaliation for a chemical weapons attack widely believed to have been carried out by Bashar Assad's forces that killed over 80 civilians.

North Korea called the US strike on a Syrian airfield "an unforgivable act of aggression" and justified its nuclear weapons developments as "the right choice a million times over" because of it.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, without directly naming North Korea, told ABC News, "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".

"The successive US administrations have perpetrated strikes at those countries which do not have nukes only, styling themselves a superpower and the same is true of the Trump administration", the Korean Central News Agency said in a post on its English-language site. He didn't specify North Korea, but the context was clear enough.

North Korea has been pursuing its nuclear and missile programs at an unprecedented pace since past year, with an aim to expand its deterrence against Washington and diversify its line-up of nuclear-equipped missiles, another expert said.

North Korea launched a projectile on Wednesday, which USA officials said appeared to be a liquid-fuelled, extended-range Scud missile that only travelled a fraction of its range before spinning out of control and crashing into the sea.

"In the long term, U.S. military actions overseas won't help curb the North's nuclear pursuit", Kim said.

However, China has for a long time insisted that the crux of the North Korean nuclear issue is a problem between Washington and Pyongyang. Four-star Gen. Jack Keane, who told Fox News that the USA was "rapidly and dangerously heading towards the reality that the military option is the only one left when it comes to getting North Korea to denuclearize and not weaponized [intercontinental ballistic missiles]".

  • Joey Payne