North Korea's foreign minister says 'US declared war'

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U.S. President Donald Trump delivers a statement on the deadly protests in Charlottesville, at the White House in Washington, U.S. August 14, 2017.
U.S. President Donald Trump delivers a statement on the deadly protests in Charlottesville, at the White House in Washington, U.S. August 14, 2017. Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

Pyongyang has stated that it reserves the right to shoot down US bombers, claiming it was US President Donald Trump who declared war in a tweet. The North Korean foreign minister Ri Yong-ho reportedly said that North Korea has every right to perform counter-measures.

According to Ri, it was the United States that first declared war. He was reportedly talking about Trump’s tweet on Sunday, in which the US preisdent said that the regime’s leaders “won’t be around much longer.”

"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,” he said. Ri added that the question of who would not be around much longer will be answered then.

Trump had previously said he would “totally destroy” North Korea if the US and its allies were attacked. The UN and the international community, Ri said, had hoped that the war of words between the US and North Korea would not turn into “real action.”

But White House spokeswoman Sarah Saunders denied allegations that the POTUS had declared war. She described the idea as "absurd.” She said the goal of the Trump administration remains the same. That is, to continue to seek the peaceful denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

Spokeswoman for the state department Katina Adams also agreed that the US has not declared war on North Korea. She added that no nation has the right to fire on other nations’ aircraft or ships in international airspace or waters.

The Pentagon said it will provide the US leader with "options" on how to deal with Pyongyang. Pentagon spokesman Colonel Robert Manning said it would be the case if North Korea does not stop their “provocative actions.”

Meanwhile, UN secretary general António Guterres warned that a heated rhetoric could only increase the risk of confrontation. UN spokesman Stéphane Dujarric told reporters that fiery talk can lead to fatal misunderstandings.

Ri’s comments came following tensions between the US and North Korea, with an exchange of insults between Trump and Kim Jong-un. Officials and experts believe the risks of all-out war are now substantially greater, according to The Guardian.

It is not the first time the Pyongyang regime has accused America of declaring war. It shot down a US aircraft in 1969, killing 31 servicemen, and an army helicopter in 1994.

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