White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said today any suggestion that President Donald Trump had issued a declaration of war against North Korea -- as a top North Korean official claimed -- is "absurd."
Sanders' comments came hours after North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho told reporters, "The whole world should clearly remember it was the U.S. who first declared war on our country."
“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 said, according to The New York Times.
Ri's comments, in turn, were presumably in response to a Trump tweet Saturday in which he 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!" Ri may also have been responding to Trump's U.N. General Assembly (UNGA) speech in which he threatened to "totally destroy" North Korea if the U.S. is "forced to defend itself or its allies."
Elsewhere in today's White House press briefing, Sanders denied a report from the Los Angeles Times that aides had tried to warn Trump not to personally attack North Korean Kim Jong Un ahead of the UNGA speech. National security officials in the White House, Sanders said, had been consulted on the speech and were happy with it.
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