Although tensions seemed to fizzle between the United States and North Korea in recent months, after Kim Jong un announced he would be tabling plans to launch long-range ballistic missiles toward American bases in Guam, recent weeks have seen yet another dramatic increase in aggressive rhetoric between the two nations.

President Trump, who has dubbed North Korea’s Supreme Leader “Rocket Man,” addressed the United Nations for the first time in his presidency last week, threatening to “destroy” North Korea if their leader’s provocations didn’t stop.  His speech, which has proven to be received as divisively as his presidency by the international community, prompted a fresh slew of threats levied by North Korean officials, including an out of character first-person statement by Kim Jong un himself, who usually opts to speak through North Korean media channels.  Now, however, that rhetoric has been heightened once again, this time with a North Korean threat that could potentially lead to war.

In a statement made on Monday, North Korea’s Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho claimed that President Trump declared war on his nation via Twitter over the weekend, when he wrote; “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!”

As such, the North Korean official declared that his nation’s military may now begin targeting American fighters and bombers that fly over the Korean Peninsula, regardless of whether or not they enter North Korean air space.

The whole world should clearly remember it was the U.S. who first declared war on our country,” he told a delegation of reporters at the United Nations in New York City. “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,” Ri said. “The question of who won’t be around much longer will be answered then.” He concluded.

Ri also addressed President Trump’s statements directly while speaking before the United Nations on Saturday.  During Trump’s speech, he accused Kim Jong Un of being on a “suicide mission,” due to his repeated refusals to adhere to UN resolutions regarding his nuclear and ballistic weapons programs.  The United States and the United Nations have both levied a number of sanctions against both North Korea and foreign entities that have continued to support Kim’s pursuit of weapons of mass destruction, however, thus far they have proven unsuccessful.

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“None other than Trump himself is on a suicide mission,” Ri said as he addressed the UN General Assembly. “In case innocent lives of the US are harmed because of this suicide attack, Trump will be held totally responsible.”

President Trump has assumed a decidedly more aggressive stance toward North Korea’s provocations since taking office in January than his predecessors, a method some believe is a necessary shift from the status quo regarding Kim’s long history of empty threats.  Others, however, have criticized his aggressive rhetoric as unnecessarily increasing the chances that war may break out on the Korean peninsula.

 

Image courtesy of the Department of Defense