Trump administration warns North Korea against provocation

With a limited but decisive response to Syrian President Bashar Assad's alleged use of banned sarin nerve gas on Syrian civilians, Trump won plaudits from previously skeptical US allies in Europe, as well as from some of his harshest critics at home.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says the administration is hopeful "that we can work together with the Chinese to change the conditions in the m..."

The White House says in a statement on Sunday that the leaders agreed that Syrian President Bashar Assad's "use of chemical weapons against civilians, including women and children, was abhorrent and warranted a strong response from the worldwide community".

Tensions are rising in the region as President Donald Trump seeks to prevent North Korea from acquiring the capability to strike targets in the continental USA with a nuclear weapon.

The U.S. Defense Department announced late Saturday the Pacific Command had ordered a U.S. Navy strike group (USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier) to head towards the Korean peninsula.

He also told ABC's This Week programme: "In terms of North Korea, we've been very clear that our objective is a denuclearized Korea peninsula". A similar phone call took place Friday with South Korea's acting president, Hwang Kyo-ahn, the White House said.

A United States national security review of options on North Korea include economic and military measures.

The U.S. strike was the first direct assault on the Assad regime since civil war broke out in the Middle East nation in 2011 and marked a striking reversal for Trump, who warned against the U.S. getting pulled into the Syrian civil war before he even ran for office.

"This is a rogue regime that is now a nuclear-capable regime", he said. Ben Cardin of Maryland says the administration hasn't been clear on next steps and whether it would escalate a USA response if Syrian President Bashar Assad (bah-SHAR' AH'-sahd) continues his assault on rebel forces with conventional weapons.

As a US Navy strike group headed toward the Korean Peninsula, Tillerson said on Sunday China agrees that action is necessary to address North Korea's nuclear arsenal, following last week's meeting between US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping. "... So the president has asked us to be prepared to give him a full range of options to remove that threat to the American people and our allies and partners in that region".

Trump said he and Xi "held in-depth discussions on the seriousness of North Korea's nuclear problem and how to respond to it".

Senior envoys of South Korea, Japan and the United State on the North Korea nuclear program will soon meet to discuss their coordinated response, the South's foreign ministry said. North Korea will bolster its capacity to protect itself from "reckless moves", the spokesman was quoted as saying.

  • Leroy Wright