PYONGYANG — North Korea’s Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho on Monday issued a new round of threats against the U.S. in claims that President Donald Trump’s recent comments about leader Kim Jong Un were a “declaration of war”.
Referencing the president’s tweet over the weekend in which he claimed that North Korea “won’t be around much longer,” Ri Yong Ho said the rogue state would do whatever was necessary to protect itself from what Jong Un called a “mentally deranged” President Trump.
“Last weekend Trump claimed that our leadership wouldn’t be around much longer and declared a war on our country,” Ri Yong Ho told reporters outside his hotel across the street from the United Nations in New York on Monday. “Since the United States declared war on our country, we will have every right to make all self-defensive countermeasures, 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.”
The ongoing war of words between the United States and North Korea reached new heights last week after President Trump, while addressing the United Nations on September 19, referred to Kim Jong Un as a “rocket man” who is “on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime.”
“North Korea’s reckless pursuit of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles threatens the entire world with unthinkable loss of human life,” Trump said during the U.N. speech, adding that the United States, if provoked, was prepared to totally destroy” the communist nation’s dictatorship.
Quick to respond to Trump’s comments, Jong Un referred to Trump as a “mentally deranged U.S. dotard” and vowed to “surely and definitely tame” the U.S. “with fire.”
As the tit for tat continues between the two leaders, response continues to come in from leaders around the world who are expressing their concerns that the war of words will escalate into full blown nuclear war.
China, North Korea’s staunchest ally, pointed the blame for the tensions at President Trump, claiming his rhetoric was “pushing” North Korea toward an act of aggression.
“Trump’s political chest thumping is unhelpful and it will only push [North Korea] to pursue even riskier policies because the survival of the regime is at stake,” said an official spokesperson for China in the country’s People’s Daily newspaper.
Russia has also weighed in on the ongoing conflict, with Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov, saying in a statement, “We are witnessing a very dangerous confrontation spiral,” calling the exchange between Trump and Kim “military hysteria” and a foreign affairs “disaster.”
State Department spokesperson Katina Adams responded to North Korea’s threats on Monday, saying, “The United States has not ‘declared war’ on North Korea. We continue to seek a peaceful denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.” Adams also defended the right of the US to conduct flyovers in international airspace, adding: “No nation has the right to fire on other nations’ aircraft or ships in international airspace or waters.”
Col. Rob Manning, a Pentagon spokesperson, also responded to Ri Yong Ho’s comments, saying in a statement that 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.”