North Korean official says U.S. has ‘declared war’ on Pyongyang; claims right to shoot down American warplanes


North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho told reporters Monday in New York that Pyongyang was reserving the right to shoot down American fighters and strategic bombers because comments tweeted by President Trump recently amounted to a declaration of war.

In addition, Ri said Pyongyang could also target American planes that were flying in international airspace, in what appears to be a dramatic escalation of rhetoric at least within hours after the Air Force sent B-1B bombers and F-15C fighters to the farthest point north of the Demilitarized Zone this century, in a show of resolve and force.

“The whole world should clearly remember it was the U.S. who first declared war on our country,” he said.

“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,” he added.

Ri was reacting to a tweet from President Trump 23 Sept., that said: “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!” Little Rocket Man is Trump’s derogatory nickname for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Why it’s on our radar: Information in this article helps satisfy Priority Intelligence Requirement 3: What are the latest indicators of a U.S.-North Korean conflict?  Each week in our Strategic Intelligence Summary, we gauge the likelihood and scope of conflict with Russia, China, North Korea, and in the Middle East, and track the latest developments in each region.  Subscribe here to receive our premium intelligence products prepared by Intelligence and special operations veterans.

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