26 Sep 2017

White House rubbishes N Korea threat against bombers

5:16 pm on 26 September 2017

North Korea's foreign minister has accused US President Donald Trump of declaring war on his country and said Pyongyang has the right to shoot down US bombers.

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho.

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho. Photo: AFP

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho said they could shoot the the warplanes down even if they were not in North Korea's airspace.

The White House dismissed the statement as "absurd" and the Pentagon warned Pyongyang to stop provocations.

Mr Ri's comments were a response to Mr Trump's tweet that Mr Ri and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un would not "be around much longer" if they continued their rhetoric.

"The whole world should clearly remember it was the US who first declared war on our country," Mr Ri told reporters as he was leaving New York, where he had addressed the UN General Assembly on Saturday.

"Since the United States declared war on our country, we will have every right to make counter-measures, including the right to shoot down United States strategic bombers even when they are not inside the airspace border of our country."

US President Donald Trump addresses UN General Assembly, saying America would "totally destroy" North Korea if forced to defend itself or its allies.

Photo: AFP

In his fiery speech on Saturday, Mr Ri had described Mr Trump as a "mentally deranged person full of megalomania" on a "suicide mission", which drew a response from the US president on Twitter.

The two sides have been engaged in an increasingly angry war of words. Despite weeks of tension, experts have played down the risk of direct conflict between the two.

North Korea has continued to carry out nuclear and ballistic missile tests in recent weeks, in defiance of successive rounds of UN sanctions.

This picture from North Korea's KCNA - taken on 29 August and released on 30 August - reportedly shows the Hwasong-12 lifting off from an undisclosed location near Pyongyang.

This picture from North Korea's KCNA - taken on 29 August and released on 30 August - reportedly shows the Hwasong-12 lifting off from an undisclosed location near Pyongyang. Photo: AFP / KCNA via KNS

The country's leaders say nuclear capabilities are its only deterrent against an outside world seeking to destroy it.

After the North's latest and most powerful nuclear test earlier this month, the UN Security Council approved new sanctions on the country.

A UN spokesman warned fiery talk could lead to fatal misunderstandings.

North Korea

Photo: AFP / KCNA via KNS

- BBC

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