North Korea has vowed to bolster its defenses to protect itself against airstrikes like the ones President Trump ordered against an air base in Syria, reports the AP. The North called the airstrikes "absolutely unpardonable" and said they prove its nuclear weapons are justified to protect against Washington's "evermore reckless moves for a war." The airstrikes were retaliation against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for a chemical weapons attack against civilians caught up in his country's long civil war. "Some forces are loud-mouthed that the recent US military attack on Syria is an action of warning us but we are not frightened by it," the report said, adding that the North's "tremendous military muscle with a nuclear force as its pivot" will foil any aggression by the US. "We will bolster up in every way our capability for self-defense to cope with the US evermore reckless moves for a war and defend ourselves with our own force," it said.
The US Pacific Command directed the USS Carl Vinson carrier group to sail north to the western Pacific to provide a physical presence near the Korean Peninsula after departing Singapore on Saturday, reports the AP. Deployed from San Diego to the western Pacific since Jan. 5, the strike group has participated in numerous exercises with the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force and Republic of Korea Navy, various maritime security initiatives, and routine patrol operations in the South China Sea. On Saturday, Trump and South Korea's leader, acting President Hwang Kyo-Ahn, spoke by phone. The White House said the two agreed to stay in close contact about North Korea and other issues. (A recent North Korea propaganda clip showed the USS Carl Vinson in flames.)