The White House on Monday firmly pushed back on reports that North Korea’s top diplomat thinks that President Donald Trump declared war with his tweet about Kim Jong Un this weekend.
“Not at all, we’ve not declared war on North Korea and frankly the suggestion of that is absurd,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in response to questions about the reports.
“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.”
After listening to North Korea Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho speak at the United Nations, Trump warned Saturday that the diplomat “won’t be around much longer” if he kept up the same rhetoric as Kim, whom Trump has taken to calling “Rocket Man.”
Just heard Foreign Minister of North Korea speak at U.N. If he echoes thoughts of Little Rocket Man, they won't be around much longer!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 24, 2017
Ri told reporters Monday that Trump’s tweet was a “declaration of war” and that the country has “every right” to “shoot down the United States strategic bombers even they’re not yet inside the airspace border of our country,” according to the Associated Press.