Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

North Korean foreign minister Ri Yong-ho said Monday that Trump's threats amount to a declaration of war against the isolated country, and that North Korea is prepared to defend itself. (Photo: @chavezglen1755/Twitter)

Trump's Threats Seen As Declaration of War by North Korea

As Americans hope for diplomatic talks, Trump's rhetoric leads North Korea to warn it's prepared to defend itself

Julia Conley

President Donald Trump's increasingly aggressive rhetoric on Kim Jong-un's nuclear program has been perceived as a declaration of war by North Korea's foreign minister, who said Monday that the country is prepared to defend itself if Trump follows through with what appeared to be threats of a regime change via his Twitter account over the weekend.

"The whole world should clearly remember it was the U.S. who first declared war on our country," said Ri Yong-ho on Monday.

After Ri spoke at the United Nations on Saturday, Trump tweeted his latest threat regarding North Korea:

The tweet matched the tone of Trump's own U.N. address, made last Tuesday, in which he said the U.S. "will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea" if it "is forced to defend itself or its allies." It also followed a statement Trump made in August, apparently without any discussion with his cabinet members, that North Korea would face "fire and fury" if it continued testing its nuclear capability.

"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 on Monday, adding, "the question of who won't be around much longer will be answered then."

North Korea conducted its sixth nuclear test earlier this month, its largest yet. It has also claimed to test both short-range and intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) more than a dozen times this year, firing two over Japan in the past month. Ignoring calls for diplomacy made by numerous peace organizations, Trump and Nikki Haley, U.S. ambassador to the U.N., have dismissed the possibility of holding peaceful negotiations with North Korea in order to de-escalate tensions and work with the Kim regime to manage its nuclear development, as the Obama administration did with Iran in 2015.

Meanwhile, Defense Secretary James Mattis insisted after Trump's combative speech at the U.N. that Washington's approach to North Korea "is still a diplomatically-led effort," echoing his remark last month that, "we are never out of diplomatic solutions." Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also made an attempt at damage control after Trump's speech, telling ABC, "Our diplomatic efforts continue unabated."

The administration's diplomatic response has mostly centered on slapping the isolated country with sanctions; Trump introduced the latest round last Thursday.

According to a survey taken last week by Public Policy Polling, 90 percent of Democrats and 80 percent of Republicans favor direct talks with North Korea before taking military action.

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Ahead of Canadian Election, Bernie Sanders and Rashida Tlaib Endorse NDP

"Bernie, you have fought courageously for public healthcare, affordable medication, making the rich pay their fair share, and tackling the climate crisis," said party leader Jagmeet Singh. "We're doing the same here."

Jessica Corbett ·

US Urged to End Drone Strikes After Pentagon Says Killing 10 Afghan Civilians Was 'Horrible Mistake'

"That was not a 'mistake,'" said journalist Anand Giridharadas. "War crimes are not oopsies."

Brett Wilkins ·

40+ NYC Activists Arrested for Protests Against Banks Fueling Climate Emergency

"We're sending a message loud and clear that the little action that politicians and greenwashing CEOs have taken so far does not begin to deal with the magnitude of this crisis."

Jessica Corbett ·

FDA Panel Recommends Pfizer Booster Shots for People 65+ and Especially Vulnerable

The scientific advisory committee voted down a recommendation for other adults.

Common Dreams staff ·

'What Betrayal Looks Like': UN Report Says World on Track for 2.7°C of Warming by 2100

"Whatever our so-called 'leaders' are doing," said Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, "they are doing it wrong."

Jake Johnson ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.

Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo