North Korea’s Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho on Monday accused US President Donald Trump of declaring war on his country by tweeting over the weekend that North Korea “won’t be around much longer.”
“Last weekend Trump claimed that our leadership wouldn’t be around much longer and declared a war on our country,” Ri said, according to an official translation of his remarks to reporters in New York.
“Since the United States declared war on our country, we will have every right to make all self-defensive counter measures, including the right to shoot down the United States strategic bombers at any time even when they are not yet inside the aerospace border of our country,” Ri said.
State Department spokesperson Katina Adams responded to the comments, telling CNN, “the United States has not ‘declared war’ on North Korea. We continue to seek a peaceful denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” Adams said. She also defended the right of the US to conduct flyovers in international airspace: “No nation has the right to fire on other nations’ aircraft or ships in international airspace or waters.”
The Pentagon defended the right of the US to conduct the flyovers, following Ri’s remarks on Monday. “That operation was conducted in international airspace over international waters so we have the right to fly, sail and operate where legally permissible around the globe,” said Col. Rob Manning, a Pentagon spokesman.
“The US military will take all options to make sure that we safeguard our allies and our partners and our homeland so if North Korea does not stop their provocative actions we’ll make sure we provide options to the President to deal with North Korea,” he said.