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.
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.
President Trump is again at Trump International Golf Club in FL, per pool. It is his 16th golf course trip since taking office 11 weeks ago.
— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) April 9, 2017
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.