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In wake of Syria bombing, Trump sends warships toward North Korea

North Korean officials say U.S. strikes on Syria justify nuclear program.

A U.S. carrier group, including the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, shown here, departed Singapore on Saturday, April 8, towards the Korean Peninsula, according to a Navy news release. CREDIT: AP Photo/Bullit Marquez
A U.S. carrier group, including the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, shown here, departed Singapore on Saturday, April 8, towards the Korean Peninsula, according to a Navy news release. CREDIT: AP Photo/Bullit Marquez

A North Korean foreign minister said Sunday that U.S. airstrikes on Syria justified North Korea’s country’s nuclear defense program, the AP reported, as the United States sent a fleet of Navy destroyers towards the Korean Peninsula.

“We will bolster up in every way our capability for self-defense to cope with the U.S. evermore reckless moves for a war and defend ourselves with our own force,” said the minister, who was unnamed in Sunday’s state-run TV report.

The Navy announced Saturday that President Trump has sent a fleet of U.S. warships, including an aircraft carrier, two destroyers, and a cruiser, towards the Korean Peninsula. Trump this week ordered a missile attack on Syrian forces, after the Syrian government killed at least 80 people in a chemical attack. The U.S. action was first against Syrian government targets in the United States’ 2.5-year campaign against ISIS forces in the civil war-torn country.

Two high-level U.S. officials said Sunday that U.S. airstrikes on Syria were intended to be a “political message.” National Security Adviser H.R. McMasters and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson both used the phrase on Sunday morning news shows.

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The United States has asked North Korea to cease testing its missile defense systems, Tillerson told ABC’s This Morning.

“Clearly [North Korea’s Kim Jong Un] has made significant advancements in delivery systems,” Tillerson said.

Earlier this week, NBC News reported that the National Security Council has developed a range of aggressive actions Trump could take on North Korea — including putting nuclear weapons in South Korea, where the United States has a permanent military presence, or assassinating Kim Jong-un. Tillerson on Sunday denied any knowledge of plans to assassinate the North Korean leader.

Meanwhile, President Trump on Sunday went to a Trump-branded golf course in Florida. It was his 18th trip to a golf course since taking office 11 weeks ago.

During former President Obama’s term, Trump repeatedly criticized Obama for his golf habits. According to an anti-Obama website, ObamaGolfCounter, Obama’s first round of golf was April 26, 2009, at Andrews Airforce Base, outside Washington, D.C.