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UNITED NATIONS -- North Korea's top diplomat said Monday that President Trump's tweet that leader Kim Jong Un "won't be around much longer" was "a declaration of war" against his country by the United States. "This is clearly a declaration of war," Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho told reporters through a translator in New York. "... The U.N. Charter stipulates individual member states' rights to self-defense.

Since the United States declared war on our country, we will have every right to make countermeasures, including the right to shoot down the United States' strategic bombers even when they're not yet inside the airspace border of our country." Later, at the White House, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters that Mr. Trump's remarks should not be viewed as a declaration of war. "We've not declared war on North Korea, and frankly the suggestion of that is absurd," Sanders said.

Sanders also responded to Ri's threat to shoot down American bombers. "It's never appropriate for a country to shoot down another country's aircraft when it's over international waters," Sanders said. "Our goal is still the same: We continue to seek the peaceful denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. That's our focus, doing that through both the most maximum economic and diplomatic pressures as possible at this point.

" Mr. Trump didn't respond to questions from reporters about Ri's comments following an Oval Office ceremony where the president signed a presidential memorandum on funding for science, technology, engineering and math education. CBS News foreign affairs analyst Pamela Falk reports the North Korean issue was the subject of several talks at the annual U.N. General Assembly in New York, which concluded Monday.

Mr. Trump met with the president of South Korea and the prime minister of Japan about North Korea last week. "The real question is Russia and China," Falk said on CBSN. "Their foreign ministers at this U.N. General Assembly made clear what they want is more diplomatic effort." Monday was not the first time North Korea has spoken about a declaration of war between the two countries. In July 2016, Pyongyang said U.

S. sanctions imposed on Kim were "a declaration of war." Ri referred Monday to Mr. Trump's tweet Saturday that said: "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!" 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 Mr. Trump also used the derisive "Rocket Man" reference to Kim in his speech at the U.N. on Sept. 19, but this time he added the word "little." The foreign minister's brief statement to a throng of reporters outside his hotel before heading off in a motorcade, reportedly to return home, built on the escalating rhetoric between Kim and Mr. Trump. "The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea," Mr.

Trump had told world leaders. "Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime." Kim responded with the first-ever direct statement from a North Korean leader against a U.S. president, lobbing a string of insults at Mr. Trump and calling him a "mentally deranged U.S. dotard," a word to describe an old person who is weak-minded. Mr. Trump responded by tweeting that Kim is "obviously a madman who doesn't mind starving or killing his people.

" Kim Jong Un of North Korea, who is obviously a madman who doesn't mind starving or killing his people, will be tested like never before! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 22, 2017 Kim retorted that Mr. Trump would "pay dearly" for his threat to destroy North Korea and said his country will consider the "highest level of hard-line countermeasures in history." Asked about countermeasures, Ri then told reporters in New York that "I think it could be the most powerful detonation of an H-bomb in the Pacific.

" In his speech Saturday to the General Assembly, Ri said Mr. Trump's "rocket man" insult makes "our rocket's visit to the entire U.S. mainland inevitable all the more." "None other than Trump himself is on a suicide mission," Ri had said. "In case innocent lives of the U.S. are lost because of this suicide attack, Trump will be held totally responsible." On Monday, Ri escalated the threat. He opened his remarks to reporters in Korean by saying that over the last few days, the U.

N. and the international community clearly have wished "that the war of words between the DPRK and the United States will not turn into real action." DPRK refers to the North's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. "However, that weekend, Trump claimed that our leadership wouldn't be around much longer, and ... he declared the war on our country," Ri said. "Given the fact that this comes from someone who is currently holding the seat of (the) United States presidency, this is clearly a declaration of war," the foreign minister said.

A man watches a television screen showing President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a news program at the Seoul Train Station in Seoul, South Korea, on Thu., Aug. 10, 2017.  AP He said all U.N. members and the world "should clearly remember that it was the U.S. who first declared war on our country." Ri then said North Korea now has the right to retaliate against U.S. bombers.

He ended his brief remarks by saying: "The question of who won't be around much longer will be answered then." Mr. Trump's tweets have sparked or stoked several controversies during the first year of his presidency, including his recent criticism of NFL players who kneel during the national anthem as a form of protest. Even some of the president's supporters aren't fans of how he uses Twitter, as one told "60 Minutes" special contributing correspondent Oprah Winfrey in a roundtable discussion broadcast Sunday night.

"I still don't like his attacks, his Twitter attacks, if you will, on other politicians," a man named Tom said. "I don't think that's appropriate. But, at the same time, his actions speak louder than words. And I love what he's doing to this country. Love it." Meanwhile, North Korea was trying to convince other governments to condemn Mr. Trump for his U.N. speech, CBS News correspondent Ben Tracy reports.

In a letter sent to foreign parliaments, North Korea called Mr. Trump's threat an "intolerable insult," North Korean state media reported, and Ri said Mr. Trump's words made North Korea's "rockets' visit to the U.S. mainland inevitable all the more." It was not immediately clear which governments had been sent the letter, Tracy reports, but it was part of what appeared to be a new approach of trying to turn Mr.

Trump's threats to destroy North Korea against him. Also making headlines Monday is North Korea's foreign minister saying that the derisive words Mr. Trump has been using against dictator Kim Jong Un amount to a declaration of war, and the North has the right to retaliate by shooting down U.S. bombers, even in international air space, CBS News' David Martin reports. Over the weekend, U.S. military planes flew up the coast of North Korea in a show of force.

The B-1 bombers and their F-15 fighter escorts flew at night, when any North Korean jet that attempted to intercept them would be at an extreme disadvantage. And although they flew further north than American combat aircraft have gone in years, they stayed 200 miles off the coast -- out of effective range of North Korean anti-aircraft missiles. In other words, there was very little, if any, risk North Korea could actually shoot down an American bomber.

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Throughout the first year of his presidency – and even as he campaigned for the office – President Trump’s rhetoric regarding North Korea has been harsh. He warned earlier this year that America’s nuclear capabilities were “much bigger [and] more powerful” than that of the Asian nation. And at the end of 2017, Trump designated North Korea a state sponsor of terror again – a classification that came with additional sanctions.

  From calling on North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to come to the table for negotiations regarding its nuclear weapons program to dubbing him “Rocket Man,” here’s a look at what Trump has said about North Korea over time. Relationship status: It’s complicated In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Trump reportedly  said he “probably” has a “very good relationship” with North Korea.

Trump also suggested that he is open to diplomacy with the country he’s spent years criticizing, the newspaper reported. “I have relationships with people. I think you people are surprised,” Trump said. But Trump slammed the report as “fake news” in multiple tweets after its publication. “The Wall Street Journal state falsely that I said to them ‘I have a good relationship with Kim Jong Un’ (of N.

Korea). Obviously I didn’t say that. I said ‘I’d have a good relationship with Kim Jong Un,’ a big difference,” Trump said. “Fortunately we now record conversations with reporters and they knew exactly what I said and meant. They just wanted a story. FAKE NEWS!” The Wall Street Journal released the audio and transcript of the interview. In the clip, Trump is heard saying, “And I probably have a very good relationship with Kim Jong Un of North Korea.

” 'Success for the world' Trump told South Korea that he would be open to talks with its northern neighbor “under the right circumstances,” the White House said. Trump also took credit for the talks between North and South Korea ahead of next month’s Winter Olympics. At a Cabinet meeting on Jan. 10, Trump said it was his administration’s pressure on North Korea that caused the rogue nation to negotiate with the South.

"Without our attitude that would have never happened," Trump said of the inter-Korean dialogue. "Who knows where it leads. Hopefully it will lead to success for the world — not just for our country but for the world, and we'll be seeing over the next number of weeks and months what happens." “I think President Trump deserves big credit for bringing about the inter-Korean talks.” - South Korea President Moon Jae-in South Korea President Moon Jae-in also praised Trump for his involvement in the pre-Olympics discussions.

“I think President Trump deserves big credit for bringing about the inter-Korean talks,” Moon said at a news conference. “It could be a resulting work of the U.S.-led sanctions and pressure.” Whose button is bigger? After Kim warned Trump about North Korea’s nuclear capabilities, Trump hit back on social media, arguing that his “Nuclear Button” is “bigger [and] more powerful.” “North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the 'Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times,'” the president tweeted.

“Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!” Kim had previously warned that the U.S. “should know that the button for nuclear war is on my table.” “The entire area of the U.S. mainland is within our nuclear strike range,” he said. “The United States can never start a war against me and our country.

” Good news or bad news? Trump insinuated at the start of the new year that sanctions and additional “pressures” are having a “big impact on North Korea.” “Soldiers are dangerously fleeing to South Korea,” Trump said. Kim “now wants to talk to South Korea for the first time. Perhaps that is good news, perhaps not – we will see!” In his tweet, Trump was seemingly referring to the recent, dramatic escape of at least two North Korean soldiers across the heavily militarized border into the southern country.

But he also alluded to Kim’s recent comments that seem to indicate he’s willing to send a delegation to the Winter Olympics to be hosted in South Korea next month. But a few days later, Trump took credit for the talks between North and South Korean leaders. “With all of the failed ‘experts’ weighing in, does anybody really believe that talks and dialogue would be going on between North and South Korea right now if I wasn’t firm, strong and willing to commit our total ‘might’ against the North,” Trump said in a Jan.

4 tweet. “Fools, but talks are a good thing!” 'Sick puppy' While giving a speech on tax reform at an event in St. Charles, Mo., on Nov. 29, 2017, Trump digressed from the topic to call the North Korean leader a "sick puppy."  His comments drew hoots from the crowd.  State sponsor of terror Trump re-designated North Korea a state sponsor of terror on Nov. 20, 2017, citing its support of “international terrorism, including assassinations on foreign soil.

” During a Cabinet meeting, Trump announced the designation will come along with new sanctions on the “murderous regime” as part of the administration’s “maximum pressure campaign” in dealing with North Korea. He said these sanctions will be “the highest level of sanctions” on the North. North Korea was on the list but was taken off by the Bush administration in 2008. Why can't we be friends? In a series of tweets while in Vietnam, Trump said he doesn't know why the North Korean dictator would "insult" him.

“Why would Kim Jong-un insult me by calling me ‘old,’ when I would NEVER call him ‘short and fat?’” Trump said. “Oh well, I try so hard to be his friend - and maybe someday that will happen!” The comment came after Kim referred to Trump's speech in South Korea as “reckless remarks by an old lunatic.” 'Don’t try us' In Asia, Trump issued a stern warning to North Korea, saying it would be a “fatal miscalculation” for the country to attack the U.

S. or an ally. “This is a very different administration than the United States has had in the past. Do not underestimate us. And do not try us,” Trump said during an address at South Korea’s National Assembly. Trump reiterated his warning on Twitter. North Korea “has interpreted America’s past restraint as weakness,” Trump said. After Trump’s remarks in Seoul, Pyongyang issued a warning of its own.

“The U.S. must oust the lunatic old man from power and withdraw the hostile policy towards [North Korea] at once in order to get rid of the abyss of doom,” state-run Korean Central News Agency said. “The U.S. had better make a decisive choice … if it does not want a horrible nuclear disaster and tragic doom.” 'Let’s make a deal' While on his Asia trip, Trump implored North Korea to “come to the table” for talks on its nuclear weapons program.

Trump’s request for North Korea to “make a deal” is in stark contrast to his previous hardline rhetoric when it comes to the rogue nation. "It makes sense for North Korea to come to the table and make a deal that is good for the people of North Korea and for the world," Trump said during a news conference alongside South Korean president Moon Jae-in on Nov. 7, 2017. He also said he’s seen “a lot of progress” in dealing with North Korea.

However, he did not say if he wanted direct diplomatic discussions to begin. Trump, did, however, call North Korea a "worldwide threat." In a joint news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo the day before, Trump repeated his assertion that the “era of strategic patience” with North Korea was finished. “Some people say my rhetoric is very strong but look what has happened with very weak rhetoric in the last 25 years,” Trump said then.

  'Rocket Man' is on a 'suicide mission' After dubbing him “Rocket Man” in a tweet, Trump eventually tried out the new nickname for Kim during his inaugural address to the U.N. General Assembly. During his speech, Trump vowed to “totally destroy North Korea” if the country so provokes him. He also said Kim was “on a suicide mission.” The North Korean ambassador to the U.N. left the room ahead of Trump’s speech in a boycott.

  No more talking After North Korea said it successfully launched a missile over Japan, a U.S. ally, and into the Pacific Ocean, Trump initially had a subdued response. "Threatening and destabilizing actions only increase the North Korean regime's isolation in the region and among all nations of the world," Trump said in a written statement after North Korea’s missile soared almost 1,700 miles into the Pacific Ocean, triggering alert warnings in northern Japan and shudders throughout Northeast Asia.

"All options are on the table." The missile launch was said to be a “precursor” to North Korea’s containment of the U.S. territory of Guam by Kim, according to state-run media. But in a tweet, the president suggested the U.S. is finished “talking” to North Korea. “The U.S. has been talking to North Korea, and paying them extortion money, for 25 years. Talking is not the answer,” Trump tweeted.

  The U.S. is 'locked and loaded' Trump took to social media on Aug. 11, 2017 to proclaim that the U.S. military is “locked and loaded” in case “North Korea act[s] unwisely.” 'Fire [and] fury' isn't 'tough enough' With the threat of nuclear violence growing, Trump warned North Korea on Aug. 8, 2017 that he would unleash “fire, fury and frankly power, the likes of which this world has never seen before.

” But when tensions continued to rise and North Korea threatened to attack Guam, Trump said maybe that comment wasn’t "tough enough." "Let’s see what [Kim] does with Guam. He does something in Guam, it will be an event the likes of which nobody has seen before – what will happen in North Korea," Trump said on Aug. 10. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Trump was "sending a strong message to North Korea in language that Kim Jong Un can understand, because he doesn’t seem to understand diplomatic language.

" Kim Jong Un is 'not getting away with it' Trump said Kim has “disrespected our country greatly.” “He has said things that are horrific. And with me, he’s not getting away with it,” Trump said. “He got away with it for a long time, between him and his family. He’s not getting away with it. It’s a whole new ball game.” 'Strategic patience … is over' After meeting with the South Korean president in Washington, D.

C., in June 2017, Trump said that the “era of strategic patience with the North Korean regime has failed.” “Frankly, that patience is over,” he said. As Trump made these comments, the U.S. was rocked with the death of Otto Warmbier, the 22-year-old American college student who suffered extensive brain damage while being held captive in North Korea for more than a year. There are 'worse things' than assassinating Kim Jong Un In an interview with CBS News during the presidential campaign, Trump said he could “get China to make [Kim Jong Un] disappear in one form or another very quickly.

” In this undated photo provided by the North Korean government, leader Kim Jong Un celebrates what is said to be the first successful test launch of an intermediate rang Hwasong-12 missile.  (AP Photo/Korean Central News Agency) When asked if he was talking about assassinating the North Korean dictator, Trump shrugged. “Well, you know, I’ve heard of worse things, frankly. I mean, this guy’s a bad dude – and don’t underestimate him,” Trump said.

“Any young guy that can take over from his father with all those generals and everybody else that probably wants the position, this is not somebody to be underestimated.” 'What the hell is wrong with speaking?' Trump told supporters at a campaign rally in Atlanta that should Kim want to come to the U.S., he would be “accept[ed].” “I wouldn’t go there, that I can tell you. If he came here, I’d accept him, but I wouldn’t give him a state dinner like we do for China and all these other people that rip us off when we give them these big state dinners,” Trump said in June 2016.

“What the hell is wrong with speaking?” Trump said, referencing the criticism he received for being willing to talk with North Korea. “It’s called opening a dialogue.” 'Maniac' During a GOP presidential debate in Sept. 2015, Trump railed on the “maniac” in North Korea while answering a question about Planned Parenthood and women’s health issues. “Nobody ever mentions North Korea, where you have this maniac sitting there, and he actually has nuclear weapons and somebody better start thinking about North Korea and perhaps a couple of other places.

But certainly North Korea,” Trump said. “You have somebody right now in North Korea who has got nuclear weapons and who is saying almost every other week, ‘I’m ready to use them,’ and we don’t even mention it,” he continued. China needs to solve the problem Even before he was president, Trump urged China to step in and help alleviate problems with North Korea. “North Korea is reliant on China.

China could solve this problem easily if they wanted to but they have no respect for our leaders,” Trump tweeted in March 2013. In April 2013, Trump continued that line of thinking, adding that “North Korea can’t survive, or even eat, without the help of China.” He then accused China of “taunting” the U.S. “North Korea can’t survive, or even eat, without the help of China.” - President Trump Later, in 2017, Trump said on Twitter that he spoke to China’s President Xi Jinping regarding the “provocative actions of North Korea.

” “Additional major sanctions will be imposed on North Korea today. This situation will be handled!” Trump said. Trump also said a Chinese envoy to North Korea “had no impact” on Kim. And on Dec. 28, Trump tweeted that he was “very disappointed that China is allowing oil to go into North Korea.” “There will never be a friendly solution to the North Korea problem if this continues to happen!” Trump said in a tweet that included the phrase, “Caught RED HANDED.

” 'Wack job' In April 2013, Trump urged then-President Barack Obama to “be very careful” with the “28-year-old wack job in North Korea.” “At some point we may have to get very tough,” he tweeted. 'Negotiate like crazy' Trump warned that the U.S. needed to “do something to stop” North Korea in 1999 during an interview with the late Tim Russert on “Meet the Press.” "Do you want to do it in five years when they have warheads all over the place, every one of them pointing to New York City, to Washington and every one of us, is that when you want to do it, or do you want to do something now?” Trump said.

“You'd better do it now. And if they think you're serious … they'll negotiate and it'll never come to that.” He said then that if he ever became president, the first step he would take would be to “negotiate like crazy” to make sure that the country would “get the best deal possible.” Trump also predicted then that in “three or four years,” North Korea would have weapons aimed all over the world, including at the U.

S.  The Associated Press contributed to this report. Kaitlyn Schallhorn is a Reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter @K_Schallhorn.

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