The White House has fired back against North Korea’s accusations that President Donald Trump declared war on the rogue nation, with White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders dismissing the claims as “absurd.”
“We’ve not declared war on North Korea and frankly the suggestion of that is absurd,” she said during a Monday news briefing, noting that it is never “appropriate to shoot down another country’s aircraft when it’s over international waters.”
North Korea’s foreign minister Ri Yong Ho told reporters that Trump’s tweet contending that North Korea “won’t be around much longer” and his speech last week at the United Nations – in which he directly blasted Kim Jong Un as “rocket man” and threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea if it attacks the U.S. or its allies — constitute a “declaration of war.”
Just heard Foreign Minister of North Korea speak at U.N. If he echoes thoughts of Little Rocket Man, they won't be around much longer!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 24, 2017
“The whole world should clearly remember it was the U.S. who first declared war on our country,” he said as he was leaving New York after addressing the UN General Assembly on Saturday.
“Since the United States declared war on our country, we will have every right to make countermeasures, including the right to shoot down United States strategic bombers even when they are not inside the airspace border of our country,” Ri said.
Despite the latest escalation in the North’s already-feverish rhetoric, Huckabee Sanders insisted that the United States remains dedicated to peace.
“Our goal is still the same. We continue to seek the peaceful denuclearization of the peninsula. That’s our focus – doing that through both the most maximum economic and diplomatic pressures as possible at this point.”
Meanwhile, Pentagon spokesman Col Robert Manning drew yet another line in the sand against North Korea’s aggressions: “If North Korea does not stop their provocative actions, you know, we will make sure that we provide options to the president to deal with North Korea.”