The foreign minister of North Korea said President Donald Trump declared war on North Korea, and the country now has the right to shoot down American bombers—even those not in North Korean air space—in its defense. “The whole world should clearly remember it was the U.S. who first declared war on our country,” Ri Yong Ho told reporters outside his hotel across the street from the United Nations in New York on Monday, multiple news outlets are reporting.
The elevated rhetoric comes less than a week after President Trump threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea in a speech in front of the U.N. General Assembly on Sept. 19. During the prepared remarks, he insulted North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, calling him “rocket man.”
Kim followed up Trump’s remarks by insulting the U.S. president in return, saying he would “surely and definitely tame the mentally deranged U.S. dotard with fire.”
The war of words continued over the weekend when Ri told the General Assembly that targeting the U.S. mainland with rockets was “inevitable.” In response, Trump took to Twitter on Saturday, tweeting “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!”
North Korea took that tweet as provocation and as “a declaration of war,” giving it the right to shoot down U.S. warplanes, reports The New York Times. “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,” said Ri.