Proclaiming that the United States has effectively declared war on North Korea, Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho said on Monday in New York that Pyongyang has the right to shoot down U.S. military aircraft, even if they don’t cross into the isolated nation’s airspace.
“The whole world should clearly remember it was the U.S. who first declared war on our country,” Ri said. “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.”
His statement added to the war of words between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, and is the most specific threat yet in the most recent flare up in tensions, which has included North Korean nuclear tests and fly-bys by American bombers. On Saturday, U.S. jets flew up the east coast of North Korea to show Pyongyang the United States has military options.
The White House flatly denied Monday that the president had declared war on Pyongyang, but national security advisor Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, speaking at a conference in Washington, said “what we hope to do is to avoid war with them but we cannot discount that possibility.”
Without going into detail about potential military plans for dealing with North Korea’s growing ballistic missile capability or nuclear program, McMaster cautioned that “there’s not a precision strike that solves the problem.”
During an unprecedented television speech last week, Kim said that Trump had made a “ferocious declaration of war,” at the United Nations. Trump had threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea if Kim attacked the United States or its allies. He also started referring to Kim as “little Rocket Man” and in a weekend tweet, warned North Korea “won’t be around much longer!”
McMaster defended president Trump’s comments, saying they made clear how the U.S. would respond to any North Korean aggression toward the United States or its allies. “I don’t think there’s any lack of clarity now,” he said.
Earlier this month, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis confirmed that the Pentagon had drawn up war plans for dealing with North Korea if the need arose, and McMaster confirmed that the Trump administration has worked up “four to five” scenarios in which the North Korea nuclear issue is resolved. “Some are uglier than others,” he said.
American bombers and fighter planes regularly fly close to North…