Philippines to North Korea: Put an End to Provocative Actions

Felipe Villamor
170829-PH-missile-620.jpg Pedestrians in Tokyo watch a news broadcast on a large screen showing the path of a North Korean missile that crossed Japanese airspace, Aug. 29, 2017.

The Philippines, this year’s chairman of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), expressed grave concern Tuesday after North Korea test-fired a ballistic missile over Japan’s airspace.

Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano issued a statement urging Pyongyang to restrain itself from further provocations shortly after it launched a missile that flew over the Japanese island of Hokkaido at dawn Tuesday (local time).

“We call on the DPRK to halt these dangerous and provocative actions, which heighten tensions, increase instability and the risk of miscalculation, and could possibly endanger lives,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said in a statement, referring to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

The test appeared to have caught many by surprise and triggered warnings for residents of Hokkaido to seek emergency shelter. The missile landed at sea about 2,000 km (1,233 miles) from Japan.

Tuesday’s incident marked the second since 1998 in which North Korea tested a missile that flew over Japanese airspace.

Cayetano said his counterparts from ASEAN had issued a statement earlier this month calling on North Korea to stop saber rattling and comply with U.N. Security Council resolutions over Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program.

As this year’s chairman of the 10-nation Southeast Asian bloc, the Philippines remained “committed to peaceful resolutions of conflict,” Cayetano said.

“While we are ready to do our part, provocations such as this latest missile launch should stop to help us put in place an environment that would be conducive for dialogue,” he stressed.

Filipinos in Japan

There are close to 250,000 Filipinos living and working in Japan and the embassy in Tokyo has been tasked with ensuring their safety.

Philippine presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said security officials were coordinating closely with counterparts in the region about the situation. But he said the missile test was not “necessarily targeted toward” Manila, even though he acknowledged it caused jitters.

“It will be the task of the Office of Civil Defense to warn the people if need be. However, at this stage, there is no need for undue alarm,” Abella said.

Pyongyang’s missile test came just two weeks after the United States territory of Guam in the Pacific was thrown into panic after North Korea threatened to launch an airstrike.

North Korea later pulled back its rhetoric after ASEAN led international calls for calm.

The Philippines and the other nine ASEAN nations have diplomatic ties with North Korea.


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