The Latest: Trump, Japan's Abe talk about Syria, North Korea

AP News
Posted: Apr 09, 2017 2:51 PM
The Latest: Trump, Japan's Abe talk about Syria, North Korea

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on developments in the aftermath of the U.S. airstrikes in Syria (all times EDT):

2:35 p.m.

President Donald Trump has spoken with the Japanese prime minister about the recent U.S. missile strikes in Syria as well as about North Korea.

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 international community."

The U.S. launched missile strikes on Syrian government installations Thursday in response to the chemical attacks.

The statement says the two also agreed to continue their cooperation on regional issues, "including the threat posed by North Korea."

The White House says the call took place on Saturday.


11:30 a.m.

Lawmakers say President Donald Trump needs to work with Congress on a "long-term" Syria strategy following last week's U.S. missile strike.

The top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee says Trump's decision was a "reaction" to Syria's use of chemical weapons. Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland says the administration hasn't been clear on next steps and whether it would escalate a U.S. response if Syrian President Bashar Assad (bah-SHAR' AH'-sahd) continues his assault on rebel forces with conventional weapons.

The Senate's No. 2 Republican, John Cornyn of Texas, says Trump's move sends a strong message to rogue nations, and agrees that the U.S. needs a broader strategy.

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina doesn't think so. He says Trump has the authority to launch additional strikes against Syria.


10:45 a.m.

President Donald Trump's national security adviser is describing U.S. goals to defeat the Islamic State group as well as oust Syrian President Bashar Assad (bah-SHAR' AH'-sahd) as somewhat "simultaneous."

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 U.S. ambassador to the United Nations who contends that getting Assad out is a priority.

McMaster says "there has to be a degree of simultaneous activity as well as sequencing of the defeat of IS first."

He says Trump's missile strike was meant as a "very strong signal to Assad and his sponsors" that the U.S. will not stand idly by, and that Russia should now reconsider support for the "murderous regime."

McMaster spoke on "Fox News Sunday."


10:30 a.m.

Sen. Lindsay Graham is calling for as many as 6,000 more U.S. troops to fight the Islamic State group.

The South Carolina Republican also wants additional penalties imposed on Russia for what he calls Moscow's "aiding and abetting" of Syrian President Bashar Assad (bah-SHAR' AH'-sahd) in the use of chemical weapons — and for Russian meddling in the 2016 American election.

Graham tells NBC's "Meet the Press" that the additional troops would "attract more regional fighters to destroy" the militants. Graham isn't saying where the Americans would be sent.

The Syrian opposition has reported that Assad's forces have begun flying again from an air base struck last week by U.S. missiles, and Graham says Assad is telling Trump — "F ... you' — by resuming those flights.