04/07/2017 08:31 EDT | Updated 04/08/2018 01:12 EDT

The Latest: Japan's Abe supports US 'resolve' on Syria

WASHINGTON — The Latest on events in Syria (all times local):

12:10 p.m.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (SHEEN-zoh AH-bay) says his government supports "the resolve of the U.S. government of never tolerating the proliferation and use of chemical weapons."

Abe is a close U.S. ally. He says chemical weapons have again taken the lives of many innocent people in Syria and the international community has been shocked by the tragedy.

In a statement issued Friday after the U.S. missile strike on Syria, Abe said Japan understands the U.S. action was intended to prevent "further worsening of the situation."

Abe added that the threat of weapons of mass destruction is becoming increasingly serious in East Asia as well — an apparent reference to North Korea, a neighbour of Japan. He said Japan praises Trump's commitment to "maintaining international order."


6:30 a.m.

Top European Union officials are supporting the U.S. missile strikes on military targets in Syria as a means of deterring further chemical weapons attacks by Damascus.

EU Council President Donald Tusk said in a tweet Friday that the "U.S. strikes show needed resolve against barbaric chemical attacks. EU will work with the US to end brutality in Syria."

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said in a statement that he "understands efforts to deter further attacks."

He said "there is a clear distinction between air strikes on military targets and the use of chemical weapons against civilians."


6:00 a.m.

NATO's chief says Syrian President Bashar Assad only has himself to blame for a U.S. missile strike launched in retaliation for a chemical weapons attack in Syria that killed dozens of people.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Friday that "the Syrian regime bears the full responsibility for this development."

He said that the U.S.-led military alliance "has consistently condemned Syria's continued use of chemical weapons as a clear breach of international norms and agreements."

Stoltenberg said that "any use of chemical weapons is unacceptable, cannot go unanswered, and those responsible must be held accountable."