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North Korea Accuses US Of War, Threatens Planes

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North Korea's foreign minister said on Sept. 25 that the U.S. had declared war on his country and that it now has the right to shoot down U.S. bombers in any airspace.

Ri Yong Ho's comments come two days after U.S. warplanes flew close to North Korean borders after a week of escalating tensions between the two nations.

President Donald Trump aggravated North Korea on Sept. 19, when he called the country's leader Kim Jong Un, "a rocket man on a suicide mission."

In response, Ri became increasingly vocal in expressing his distaste for the president.

"If he was thinking he could scare us with the sound of a dog barking, that's really a dog dream," Ri said to reporters upon arriving in New York on Sept. 20. In North Korea, a "dog dream" is something nonsensical and absurd, The Washington Post reports.

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When asked about Trump's name for Kim, "Rocket Man," Ri responded: "I feel sorry for his aides."

On Sept. 22, tensions ramped up once more when Ri told the press that Kim was planning to test a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean.

The war of words came to a head on Sept. 23, after U.S. planes flew closer to the Demilitarized Zone between the Koreas than they had ever flown before in the 21st century, according to BBC.

"This mission is a demonstration of U.S. resolve and a clear message that the president has many military options to defeat any threat," the Pentagon said in a statement on Sept. 23.

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Later that day, Ri addressed the United Nations with a heated speech about the U.S. president, calling him "mentally deranged and full of megalomania." Ri threw Trump's own words back at him, saying that he was the one on "a suicide mission."

On the evening of Sept. 23, Trump responded to Ri's comments in a tweet.

"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!"

The BBC credits Trump's tweet with inciting Ri's accusation of the U.S. declaring war on North Korea.

"The whole world should clearly remember it was the U.S. who first declared war on our country," Ri told reporters as he left the U.S. "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."

The BBC reports that Stephane Dujarric, a spokesman for U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres, attempted to quell the heated atmosphere by saying that "fiery talk can lead to fatal misunderstandings" and that "the only solution is a political solution."

Sources: BBC (2), The Washington Post via The Straits Times, Donald J. Trump/Twitter / Featured Image: (stephan)/Flickr / Embedded Images: John Pavelka/Flickr, (stephan)/Flickr

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