North Korea Accuses Trump of Declaring War
Albanian Daily News
Published September 25, 2017
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.
Asked about Ri's charge that Trump's comments were a declaration of war, Manning, said: "Our job as the Department of Defense is as you know is to make sure that the President is provided military options, we'll continue to do that, and we have a deep arsenal of military options to provide the President so then he can decide how he wants to deal with North Korea and the regime."
"We are postured and we are ready to fight tonight," he added.
The US Navy will also continue to maintain its presence near the Korean peninsula despite the latest round of harsh rhetoric and threats of a military strike from Pyongyang.
Two US defense officials told CNN on Monday that the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier will conduct scheduled naval maritime exercises with the South Korean navy off the peninsula at the end of October.
While the officials said the exercises are long scheduled and not in response to recent tensions, similar exercises have prompted strong condemnation from North Korea in the past.
A White House spokesman said Monday the Trump administration had no reaction to the comments.