Tensions between the U.S. and North Korea have reached a new level.
In a report from Reuters, North Korea’s foreign minister—Ri Yong Ho—was quoted Monday in saying that President Donald Trump had declared war on North Korea and that the regime now had the right to take countermeasures, including shooting down U.S. bombers even if they aren’t in the country’s air space.
Ri Yong Ho pointed to a Twitter message posted by Trump on Saturday where the president warned that North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un “won’t be around much longer” if they acted on their threats, which would amount to an act of war.
Ri said, “The whole world should clearly remember it was the U.S. who first declared war on our country,” when speaking to reporters in New York where he was attending the annual U.N. General Assembly.
“Since the United States declared war on our country, 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. The question of who won’t be around much longer will be answered then.”
This comes after weeks of escalating language between President Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, and a series of U.N. and U.S. sanctions designed to punish the regime for its nuclear threats and trial missile launches.
Sarah Sanders, the White House spokeswoman, denied the U.S. had declared war and called the suggestion that it had, “absurd.”
North Korea has remained technically at war with the U.S. since the Korean War ended in a truce, and not a peace treaty. The country has been working on developing nuclear-tipped missiles capable of hitting the U.S. mainland and launched is largest nuclear test earlier this month.
The full report is available on Reuters.