North Korea’s foreign minister has said that President Donald Trump has “declared war” on his country and that Kim Jong Un’s regime won’t hesitate in shooting down American bombers.
“Since the U.S. declared war on our country, we will have every right to make countermeasures, including the right to shoot down the U.S. bombers even when they are not yet inside the airspace border of our country,” Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho told reporters in New York.
Ri made his remarks Monday near the United Nations headquarters in New York, where he attended last week’s General Assembly.
“Last weekend, Trump claimed that our leadership wouldn’t be around much longer and he declared a war on our country,” he added. “Even the fact that this comes from someone who is currently holding the seat of the U.S. presidency is clearly a declaration of war.”
However, the White House has rejected the notion that the U.S. had declared war on North Korea.
“We have not declared war on North Korean, and frankly the suggestion of that is absurd,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said at a press briefing Monday.
She added that “it’s never appropriate for a country to shoot down another country’s aircraft when” the planes are over international waters. Kim and his officials are no stranger to fiery, war-like rhetoric, often threatening to immolate the U.S. in “a sea of fire” and to reduce “the whole of the U.S. mainland to ruins.”
Trump had earlier warned the reclusive state of North Korea that he could visit “fire” and “fury” on the authoritarian regime if it threatened the U.S.
Analysts agree that while the North’s apocalyptic statements are nothing but rhetoric, the country is actually building its missile and nuclear program according to a rational set of goals.
North Korea views its nuclear policy as self-preservation. The regime strongly believes that leaders in Iraq and Libya fell to Western-backed regime change after they gave up their nuclear programs.