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Syria strike 'would deter N Korea'

Military action against Syria will deter North Korea from using chemical weapons, a US defence chief says.

Under secretary of defence for policy James Miller said a retaliatory strike against the Syrian government would uphold the international norm that chemical weapons must not be used.

Mr Miller said he emphasised to his Chinese counterpart that lowering the threshold for chemical weapons use could put US troops at risk and threaten global security.

China opposes strikes on Syria by the US or its allies in response to the August 21 chemical attack near Damascus that the US says killed more than 1,400 people.

Defence secretary Chuck Hagel has warned that North Korea possesses a massive stockpile of chemical weapons that threatens South Korea and the 28,000 US troops stationed there.

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