PHL urges North Korea to stop missile tests that threaten region’s security

The Philippines last Sunday repeated its call for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) to stop its provocations and head back to the negotiating table after Pyongyang sent another ballistic missile toward Japan.

“We again call on the DPRK to cease its provocative and highly dangerous actions that threaten the peace, stability and security of the region,” Foreign Secretary Alan Peter S. Cayetano said in a statement issued in New York, where he will attend the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

“DPRK must put a stop to these tests and to start talks instead,” Cayetano said as he reiterated Manila’s call for dialogue.

He said the missile launches not only undermine efforts toward a peaceful resolution of issues in the Korean Peninsula but also exacerbate an already tense situation there.

North Korea last Friday launched another missile over Japan, after threatening to “sink” the country and turn the US “into ashes and darkness”.

The missile—which was fired from Sunan, just north of Pyongyang, last Friday morning at 6.57 a.m. Japan time (21.57 GMT Thursday)—flew over the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido before landing, 20 minutes after launch, in the Pacific Ocean, some 2,200 kilometers east of Cape Erimo.

Last Friday’s launch was the longest-ever such flight carried out by the rogue regime, which travelled 3,700km to 800km further than the previous launch over Japan in August. Experts believed it was likely to be another Hwasong-12 missile, as used in the August test.

Cayetano urged the DPRK to “abide by the relevant United Nations Security Council [UNSC] resolutions, as the Philippines remains committed to complying with the same”.

Cayetano said he will be consulting with fellow Asean Foreign Ministers in New York on what the Asean can do to help reduce tension in the Korean Peninsula.

The Asean Foreign Ministers are scheduled to meet next week in New York, and are expected to have a dialogue with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at the sidelines of the UNGA.

“Of course, we are also concerned about the safety of the 242,000 Filipinos in Japan who may be impacted by these provocative acts,” Cayetano said.

“Our Embassy in Tokyo and Consulate General in Osaka are closely monitoring the situation and are regularly providing updates to the Filipino community,” he added.

“Our kababayan in Japan must closely monitor the Embassy’s announcements and to update information on their whereabouts and contact details with the Embassy or consulate general,” he said.

Last Friday’s launch is the third such incident involving Japan, following a similar missile test on August 29, which also ended with a splashdown in the Pacific Ocean, while the first occurred back in 1998.

This marks the 13th DPRK ballistic- missile test for 2017 alone, and comes on the heels of the adoption of UNSC Resolution 2375 (2017) on September 11, which strengthened sanctions against DPRK in light of their sixth nuclear- detonation test a day earlier.

The Asean Foreign Ministers issued a statement on September 7 deploring and expressing grave concern over the nuclear tests and emphasized Asean’s readiness “to play a constructive role in contributing to peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula.”





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