'We've Not Declared War on North Korea': White House Labels Pyongyang's Accusation 'Absurd'

North Korean foreign minister had accused Trump of declaring war with a tweet

In this file image made from video of an Aug. 14, 2017, broadcast in a news bulletin by North Korea's KRT, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un receives a military briefing in Pyongyang.
/AP

The North Korean foreign minister's statement that the United States has declared war on Pyongyang is "absurd," the White House said on Monday. 

"We've not declared war on North Korea. Frankly, the suggestion of that is absurd," White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters. 

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho had claimed that a tweet by U.S. President Donald Trump on Saturday was a declaration of war.

"Just heard Foreign Minister of North Korea speak at UN If he echoes thoughts of Little Rocket Man, they won't be around much longer!" the president wrote.

Speaking in New York, the foreign minister said that Pyongyang reserved the right to take countermeasures, including shooting down U.S. strategic bombers even if they are not in the country's air space.

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

The foreign minister opened his brief remarks in Korean by saying that over the last few days, the U.N. and the international community have clearly wished "that the war of words between the DPRK and the United States will not turn into real action."

DPRK refers to the North's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

"However, that weekend, Trump claimed that our leadership wouldn't be around much longer, and ... he declared the war on our country," Ri said.

"Given the fact that this comes from someone who is currently holding the seat of (the) United States presidency, this is clearly a declaration of war," the foreign minister said.

Ri ended his brief remarks by saying: "The question of who won't be around much longer will be answered then."