North Korea said Friday that President Donald Trump has effectively declared war on supreme leader Kim Jong-un’s government, by calling on Pacific allies to surround the Korean Peninsula and restrict trade, Newsweek informs.
The official Korean Central News Agency published an article lashing out at Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s recent suggestion that the U.S. had the “right to interdict maritime traffic transporting goods” in response to North Korea’s latest and most far-reaching intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launch late last month.
The article claims that the U.S. planned to summon its South Korean and Japanese allies to block North Korean ships from traveling across the country’s southern and eastern seas, while the U.S. Navy stationed itself south of South Korea’s Jeju Island.
“The U.S. is trying to openly take the measure of sea blockade against the DPRK and strangle its economy in peacetime. This is part of its scheme to escalate political and economic blockade against the DPRK which has lasted for decades,” the outlet wrote, referring to the country by its official title—the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
According to Newsweek, the state-run outlet supported its claims by citing international agreements such as the 1933 London Convention for the Definition of Aggression, which included “Naval blockade of the coasts or ports of another State” and Article 3 of U.N. General Assembly Resolution 3314, which was adopted in 1974 and also included “The blockade of the ports or coasts of a State by the armed forces of another State” as a “definition of aggression.”
The U.S. pushed for a full naval blockade of North Korea in September during discussions to adopt U.N. Security Council Resolution 2375, which intensified already-strict international sanctions against the reclusive, authoritarian state over its continued development of nuclear weapons and ballistic-missile tests.
The final text included a provision calling on the inspection of suspicious vessels that, if refused, could result in the ship “being designated for an asset freeze, denied port access, de-registered” and “other penalties.” The use of force, however, was omitted under Chinese and Russian pressure, Newsweek notes.
On Friday, the U.S. and South Korea concluded their five-day aerial exercises known as Vigilant Ace and described as the largest joint air drill between the two countries. As part of the training maneuvers, in simulated operations, B-1B Lancer bombers and F-22 Raptor stealth fighters practiced striking North Korean targets.