Airstrikes on Syria might also send message to North Korea

Posted April 10, 2017

U.S. President Donald Trump has asked officials to give him options for removing the threat of a nuclear-armed North Korea, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster said Sunday.

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula escalated since North Korea carried out a number of missile launches and nuclear tests, one of the latest being a launch of four missiles in the direction of the Sea of Japan conducted on March 6.

Trump authorized the missile strike after the Syrian regime was blamed for a horrific chemical attack that killed dozens of people, including children.

As with numerous other official statements on North Korea lately, this is seen as having a lot to do with China, with officials conceding that the threats of dramatic escalation of the tensions with North Korea might add pressure to Chinese President Xi Jinping, who is presently visiting the United States, to impose some sort of solution on North Korea himself.

Trump was meeting again with his Chinese counterpart Friday, with us missile strikes on Syria adding weight to his threat to act unilaterally against the nuclear weapons program of China's ally, North Korea.

North Korea on Sunday condemned the USA bombing in Syria as an "absolutely unacceptable aggression" against a sovereign state and said this justifies Pyongyang's further military development.

Reuters reported the carrier will move near the Korean peninsula, citing a us official it did not identify.

H.R. McMaster says there is no contradiction between comments by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who says IS must be defeated first, and Nikki Haley, the USA ambassador to the United Nations who contends that getting Assad out is a priority.

Along with its rapidly advancing nuclear and long-range missile capabilities, it 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 United States has spoken enough about North Korea.

Trump has not yet unveiled his new North Korea policy but has said he would press China to do more to rein in its communist protégé and would consider unilateral responses if Beijing failed to step up.

The question then arises as to what impact the USA president's willingness to exercise his military muscle may have on China's thinking.

"The clock has now run out and all options are on the table", an official told CNN on Tuesday, pointing to the failure of successive administrations' efforts to negotiate an end to North Korea's nuclear program. Trump has also called on China, North Korea's strongest ally, to take stronger action to curb those nuclear ambitions.

A White House official, who briefed reporters on Tuesday about the upcoming two-day meeting, said North Korea is "a matter of urgent interest" for Trump, and Washington feels that "the clock is very, very quickly running out".

Washington denies it has any intention of invading the North.