The White House on Monday denied it had declared war on North Korea, dismissing claims from the DPRK’s foreign minister as “absurd.”
Speaking at a regular media briefing, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders responded to claims made by the DPRK’s Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho earlier in the day.
“We’ve not declared war on North Korea and frankly the suggestion of that is absurd,” Sanders said.
The North Korean foreign minister on Monday said a tweet from U.S. President Donald Trump – which claimed the North Korean leadership “won’t be around much longer” if it stayed on its current course – represented a declaration of war.
The DPRK minister added that Trump’s remarks gave North Korea the right to shoot down U.S. strategic bombers outside of the country’s airspace, comments which the White House also challenged.
“It’s never appropriate to shoot down another country’s aircraft when it’s over international waters,” Sanders added.
Despite Ri’s strong wording, North Korea often considers the actions of other countries and international bodies declarations of war.
The DPRK’s state media and government frequently refer to everything from military drills to international sanctions as tantamount to declarations of war against the country, and have already made the claim numerous times this year.
But the North’s aggressive weapon testing schedule, coupled with Washington’s tough stance and warnings of military action, has led to very high tensions in the East Asia Pacific region.
The U.S. and North Korea have also engaged in a war of words, with each country threatening the destruction of the other numerous times over the course of several months.
Most recently, during his UN General Assembly (UNGA) last week, Trump said the United States would totally destroy North Korea if it attacked the U.S. or its allies.
“The United States has great strength and patience but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea,” Trump said. “The United States is ready, willing and able but hopefully, this will not be necessary.”
In response, North Korean state media on Friday carried a rare message from DPRK leader Kim Jong Un in response, ahead of a speech by Ri at the UNGA on Saturday, in which he issued insults and threats towards the U.S. and Trump.
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Featured Image: White House by ash_crow on 2012-07-11 15:26:49