North Korea says Syria airstrikes prove its nukes justified

On Sunday, North Korean officials called the US action in Syria "absolutely unpardonable", and claimed the strike proved that its own nuclear weapons were justified to protect the country against Washington's "evermore reckless moves for a war".

"It is important to maintain peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula by resolving the issues of North Korea's nuclear weapons and missiles wisely", the spokesman noted, adding that the government will consult closely with the US and other neighbors to that end.

"We will bolster up in every way our capability for self-defense to cope with the USA evermore reckless moves for a war and defend ourselves with our own force", the official said, according to the report.

Earlier this year, China called on both North Korea and the USA to tone down tension on the Korean peninsula - North Korea by suspending its nuclear weapons programme and the United States by stopping military exercises with South Korea that inflame Pyongyang.

The U.S. launched 59 Tomahawk missiles Thursday night against the Syrian air base where Bashar Assad's government had days earlier fired off a devastating chemical weapon attack that left more than 85 people in the town of Khan Sheikhoun dead. The North has long claimed that the preparing some kind of assault against it and justifies its nuclear weapons as defensive. The exercises this year are the biggest ever and have included stealth fighter training and other maneuvers that are particularly sensitive to North Korea.

North Korean officials, including leader Kim Jong Un, have repeatedly indicated an intercontinental ballistic missile test or something similar could be coming, possibly as soon as April 15, the 105th birthday of North Korea's founding president and celebrated annually as "the Day of the Sun".

The Korean Peninsula remains technically at war since the 1950-53 Korean conflict ended with an armistice, not a formal peace treaty.

"There is a difference between Syria and North Korea", Yamamoto said. But unlike Syria, experts warn that North Korea has a means of striking back if provoked.

South Korea will enhance its policy coordination with the US in a way that the latest US-China talks could bear progress in the North Korean nuclear issue, the ministry noted.