US Denies Pyongyang’s Claim It’s at War with North Korea
The United States says it is not at war with Pyongyang.
"We've not declared war on North Korea," White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters on Monday. “Frankly, the suggestion is absurd.”
Hours earlier, near United Nations headquarters, the North Korean foreign minister made that precise suggestion, referring to President Donald Trump’s comment on Twitter that Pyongyang’s regime “won't be around much longer” if the North carry out its threats.
Speaking to reporters, Ri Yong Ho said, “given the fact that this comes from someone who is currently holding the seat of United States presidency, this is clearly a declaration of war."
The foreign minister added that the United Nations and the whole world should clearly remember that it was the U.S. who first declared war on our country."
Ri warned that his country might shoot down U.S. strategic bombers, even if they are not in North Korean airspace. According to South Korea's Yonhap news agency Tuesday, Lee Cheol-woo, the chief of the National Assembly's intelligence committee, said that Pyongyang was spotted readjusting the position of its warplanes and boosting its defensive capabilities along its east coast.
Speaking at a security conference on Monday, National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster said the United States hopes to avoid war with North Korea “but what we can’t do is discount that possibility.”
Trump Contends Race Not a Factor in Football Players' Anthem Protest
U.S. President Donald Trump contended Monday that professional football players' refusal to stand for the country's national anthem has "nothing to do with race," even though many of the athletes themselves said it was meant to protest racism and police brutality against minorities in the United States.
Hundreds of players, coaches and team owners defied Trump on Sunday by sitting, kneeling and locking arms as the "Star Spangled Banner" was played before the start of 14 games, rather than displaying the traditional hand-over-heart support for the flag and country.
In recent days, Trump had called on National Football League owners to fire the players, most of them black, who refused to stand for the playing of the national anthem, a tradition at many professional athletic events in the U.S., and suggested fans boycott the widely popular NFL games, a fixture of fall Sundays in the country.
"The issue of kneeling has nothing to do with race," Trump said in a Twitter comment. "It is about respect for our Country, Flag and National Anthem. NFL must respect this!"
The U.S. leader added, "Many people booed the players who kneeled yesterday (which was a small percentage of total). These are fans who demand respect for our Flag!"
Numerous NFL team owners, at least two of whom had contributed $1 million apiece to Trump's inaugural celebration in January, issued statements in support of the players' protest, not Trump's call to fire them, and some linked arms with their players on the field while the anthem was played.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump believes it is important to "support national pride in our country.... I know it's a priority for the president to always defend our flag, always defend the national anthem and certainly to support the men and women in uniform."