South Korea’s Yonhap news agency suggested the reclusive North was bolstering its defences by moving aircraft to its east coast. The unverified Yonhap report said the US appeared to have disclosed the flight route of its bombers intentionally because North Korea seemed to be unaware. South Korea’s National Intelligence Service was unable to immediately confirm the report.
Pyongyang threatened to shoot down American planes flying near the Korean peninsula “even when they are not in the airspace border of our country”. Following a tweet from the US President that said that North Korea’s current regime “won’t be around much longer”, Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho claimed that this amounted to a declaration of war. The minister also said that Pyongyang had the right to take countermeasures.
The Trump administration said it’s not seeking to overthrow North Korea’s government and called Pyongyang’s assertion that Donald Trump’s comment amounted to a declaration of war ridiculous.
“We have not declared war on North Korea. Frankly the suggestion of that is absurd,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters. “It’s never appropriate for a country to shoot down another country’s aircraft when it’s over international waters.”
US bombers have flown missions close to North Korea in recent days, some of them the farthest north of the demilitarized zone for U.S. planes this century, the Pentagon said. The Pentagon said the flights show the U.S. is willing and able to defeat any threat.