North Korea’s foreign minister said US president Donald Trump’s latest statement was “a declaration of war” against his country.

Speaking in New York on Monday, Ri Yong Ho said North Korea has the right to shoot down US warplanes as part of its right to self-defence under the United Nations charter.

In response, the White House said the idea it has declared war on North Korea is “absurd”.

In his most recent outburst, Trump said North Korea “won’t be around long” as he renewed his “Rocket Man” jibe aimed at Kim Jong-Un.

Trump also used the derisive reference to Kim in his speech to the UN General Assembly.

Ri said: “Since the US declared war on our country, we will have every right to make countermeasures, including the right to shoot down the US bombers even when they are not yet inside the airspace border of our country.

“Last weekend, Trump claimed that our leadership wouldn’t be around much longer and he declared a war on our country. Even the fact that this comes from someone who is currently holding the seat of the US presidency is clearly a declaration of war.” SHANNON STAPLETON / REUTERSNorth Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho walks to speak to the media outside the Millennium hotel in New York.

He said all UN 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 UN bombers.

And he ended his brief remarks by saying: “The question of who won’t be around much longer will be answered then.”