US Pacific Air Forces Gen. Terrence O’Shaughnessy maintains that US warplanes will continue to fly near the Korean Peninsula in accordance with international guidelines despite North Korean threats to take down US warplanes.
“We feel strongly we should be able to fly, sail anywhere international rules allow,” O’Shaughnessy said on September 29.
Pyongyang threatened to shoot down American planes flying near the Korean Peninsula outside of the country’s airspace border following a tweet from the US President Donald Trump that had said that North Korea’s current regime “won’t be around much longer.” Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho claimed that this amounted to a declaration of war, and that Pyongyang had the right to take countermeasures.
The Trump administration said it was not seeking to overthrow North Korea’s government and called Pyongyang’s assertion that Trump’s comment amounted to a declaration of war ridiculous.
When US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrived in China seeking a diplomatic channel of communication with North Korea, Trump promptly shut him down by tweeting “I told Rex Tillerson, our wonderful secretary of state, that he is wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man,” and later followed it up urging Tillerson to “save his energy” as “we’ll do what has to be done!”
US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis claimed that America’s focus was still on finding a diplomatic solution to the dispute.
Tensions between Washington and Pyongyang have grown as North Korea has tested missiles and a nuclear device, part of its aim to develop a nuclear weapon that could reach the US mainland. Several missiles fired have flown over Japan and Pyongyang threatened to test a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific ocean.