The White House pushed back Monday on North Korea’s claim that President Trump’s rhetorical broadside against the regime at the United Nations amounted to a “declaration of war.”
“We have not declared war,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said at Monday’s press briefing.
The response came after North Korea’s foreign minister Ri Yong-ho said Monday that North Korea had the right to shoot down U.S. bombers in its airspace and Trump’s statements before the U.N. General Assembly last week were “a declaration of war” against the country.
“Last week Trump claimed our leadership declared war on … this is clearly a declaration of war on all members states,” Ri said. “The whole world should remember U.S. declared war on our people. The U.N. charter stipulates right of defense in charter.”
At the White House, Sanders called that suggestion “absurd” and delivered another warning to Pyongyang.
“It’s never appropriate for a country to shoot down another country’s aircraft when it’s over international waters,” she said. “Our goal is still the same, we continue to seek the peaceful denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. That’s our focus. Doing that through both the most maximum economic and diplomatic pressures as possible at this point.”
A new propaganda video from Pyongyang, meanwhile, featured missiles demolishing a U.S. aircraft and jets.
Words flash across the screen warning America against considering military action: “Should F-35, B-1B or the Carl Vinson lead the U.S attack, they will head to the grave in that order.”
The 90-second video was released one day after U.S. jets flew over waters east of North Korea.
U.S. Defense Department spokeswoman Dana White said the mission was to send North Korea a “clear message” Trump has “many military options to defeat any threat.”
Trump and North Korea’s war of threats escalated last week when Trump called Kim Jong Un 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, vowing to “totally destroy” the dictatorship.
Fox News Katherine Lam and The Associated Press contributed to this report.