Gold Silver Reports — North Korea Claims Right to Down U.S. Jets Outside Airspace — North Korea can shoot down U.S. strategic warplanes in international airspace as part of its right to self-defense under the United Nations charter, Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho said in New York as tensions between the nations remain high.
“The UN Charter acknowledges member states’ right of self-defense,” Ri said outside a hotel near the international body’s headquarters on Monday. “As the United States has declared a war, even though its strategic bombers don’t cross our border, we will come to own all rights to respond for self-defense including shooting down its planes at any time.”
While North Korea has previously said U.S. President Donald Trump’s comments amounted to a declaration of war, Ri’s statement comes days after the Pentagon sent warplanes near North Korea’s border in a stepped-up show of force.
B-1B Lancer bombers, based in Guam, and F-15C Eagle fighter escorts from Okinawa, Japan, traveled the farthest north of the demilitarized zone any U.S. fighter or bomber aircraft have flown off North Korea’s coast this century, Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said last week in an emailed statement.
The exercises were meant to underscore “the seriousness with which we take DPRK’s reckless behavior,” White said, using the initials of North Korea’s formal name. “This mission is a demonstration of U.S. resolve and a clear message that the President has many military options.”
After Ri gave his initial statement to reporters and went to his car in New York, he returned to add that “all options” are on the table in the crisis.
A National Security Council spokesman said the U.S. hasn’t declared war and continues to seek a peaceful denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. The NSC added that no nation has the right to fire on aircraft or ships in international airspace or waters. Colonel Robert Manning, a Pentagon spokesman, said the military has a “deep arsenal” to offer Trump on North Korea if needed.
U.S. stocks fell and bonds gained after Ri’s comments, while the yen strengthened and gold climbed.
Since early August, the U.S. has successfully pushed for two rounds of tighter international sanctions on North Korea, following two intercontinental ballistic missile tests and launches over northern Japan. Pyongyang has responded with additional weapons tests, including a nuclear explosion — its most powerful so far — in early September that caused an earthquake with a magnitude of about 6.3.
Trump, in his debut speech to the UN General Assembly on Sept. 19, threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea if it didn’t abandon its nuclear weapons program. He mocked Kim with a taunt he’d first used on Twitter days before, saying: “Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and his regime.”
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 24, 2017
He followed that up Saturday night on Twitter, posting: “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!”
Ri, responding from the UN podium last week, said: “The very reason the DPRK had to possess nuclear weapons is because of the U.S.” North Korea’s state media also issued a statement Saturday from the National Peace Committee of Korea describing Trump as “wicked” and “a rabid dog.”
North Korea and South Korea, a key U.S. ally, have technically remained at war since the 1950s, with Kim’s regime in Pyongyang repeatedly saying that an armistice agreement between the two nations is invalid. North Korea has also ramped up its ballistic missile and nuclear tests in violation of multiple UN resolutions.
U.S. analysts now estimate that North Korea may have as many as 60 nuclear weapons, according to a Washington Post report. That’s in addition to cyberwarfare capabilities, a biological weapons research program and a chemical weapons stockpile. It also has a vast array of conventional artillery aimed at Seoul.
On Sept. 22, Kim issued an unprecedented statement for a North Korean leader aimed at Trump, using the first person in several parts to attack the U.S. president.
“Now that Trump has denied the existence of and insulted me and my country in front of the eyes of the world and made the most ferocious declaration of a war in history that he would destroy the DPRK, we will consider with seriousness exercising of a corresponding, highest level of hard-line countermeasure in history,” Kim wrote in comments carried on the state-run Korean Central News Agency.
In 1969, President Richard Nixon considered tactical nuclear strikes after North Korea shot down a U.S. reconnaissance plane, according to documents declassified in 2010 and published by the National Security Archive. — Neal Bhai Reports