WH dismisses N. Korean claims: There has been no declaration of war

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Monday dismissed North Korea’s “absurd” claim that the U.S. had declared war on the country.

“We’ve not declared war on North Korea and frankly the suggestion of that is absurd,” Sanders said.

Those remarks came after Reuters quoted North Korea’s foreign minister as saying that Trump’s speech to the United Nations last week and his subsequent tweets were a “declaration of war.”

“In light of the declaration of war by Trump, all options will be on the operating table of the Supreme leadership of [the Democratic People's Republic of Korea],” Ri Yong Ho said.

North Korea has also threatened to shoot down U.S. aircraft over international waters.


“It's never appropriate to shoot down another country's aircraft when it's over international waters,” Sanders responded.

“Our goal is still the same. We continue to seek the peaceful denuclearization of the peninsula. That's our focus. Doing that through both the most maximum economic and diplomatic pressures as possible at this point.”

Trump has been ratcheting up his rhetoric against North Korea and its leader, Kim Jong Un, whom he refers to as “Little Rocket Man.”

In his U.N. speech, Trump said if North Korea attacks the U.S. or its allies, “we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea.”

Sanders disputed reports that Trump’s top aides warned him against using such heated rhetoric over concerns it would provoke Kim.

“As I've said many times before, I wouldn't use another news source as your source and I pushed back on that story at the time, but that's a false narrative,” Sanders said. “The national security team was involved and engaged throughout the speech-writing process and was very happy with the president's speech at the U.N.”