President Donald Trump's national security adviser is describing USA goals to defeat the Islamic State group as well as oust Syrian President Bashar Assad (bah-SHAR' AH'-sahd) as somewhat "simultaneous".
In appearances on the Sunday news shows, Tillerson said advances in North Korea's ballistic missile program concerned the US the most.
While the timing was largely coincidental, the fact that US President Donald Trump ordered the strike while hosting a summit with Chinese leader Xi Jinping carried particular resonance given that the North's nuclear ambitions-and how best to thwart them-was among the top agenda items of their meeting.
North Korea conducted another ballistic missile test on April 5, shortly before Xi and Trump met. Kim has said previously his regime is close to developing a ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead to the continental U.S.
Trump was meeting again with his Chinese counterpart Friday, with USA missile strikes on Syria adding weight to his threat to act unilaterally against the nuclear weapons program of China's ally, North Korea.
"The U.S. missile attack against Syria is a clear and unforgivable act of aggression against a sovereign state and we strongly condemn this", a foreign ministry official said on the KCNA news agency.
The U.S. Pacific Command said the missile from a land-based facility near the North Korean city entered the Sea of Japan at 6:51 a.m., adding that initial assessments show it was a "KN-15 medium-range ballistic missile". However, the White House has not confirmed the report.More news: Gonzaga holds off South Carolina 77-73 in Final Four
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson confirmed the launch but said in a statement "the United States has spoken enough about North Korea". Unlike Syria, North Korea has a means of striking back. Still, "the Carl Vinson's move toward the Korean peninsula is probably a decision they made some time ago as part of the Foal Eagle joint military drills".
The U.S. removed its nukes from South Korea 25 years ago.
Trump has recently threatened unilateral action against Pyongyang if Beijing fails to help curb its neighbor's nuclear weapons program.
"Trump's attack on Syria is unlikely to have any significant effect on a North Korea that is already well versed in the threat posed by the United States", said Joel Wit, a senior fellow at the US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University.
Washington denies it has any intention of invading the North.
Trump has said China, with its ties to North Korea, should deal with its neighbor, but that the US was prepared to act on its own if necessary.