MANILA, Philippines – The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council will be on red alert status next week ahead of a planned rocket launch by North Korea, the agency said on Saturday, December 8.
If successful, the projectile is expected to reach the Philippines in about 27 minutes after lift-off and debris from the second stage of the rocket may fall on national territory.
The launch — which will attempt to put a satellite in orbit — will probably take place between December 8 and 10.
Sailing, fishing and flying will be banned starting Monday in a wide area off the eastern seaboard of Luzon from Cagayan to Polillo Island, Quezon.
Fishermen and merchant vessels will not be allowed to penetrate the exclusion area, and the ban will be enforced by 80 personnel and two ships from the Philippine Coast Guard.
The Philippine Nuclear Research Institute is prepared to check for radioactive fallout in case debris from the projectile falls on land, but so far no evacuations have been ordered.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) expressed on Thursday its “concern” over the launch and reminded the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea — official name of the North Korean regime — that the UN Security Council demands that Pyongyang abstain from conducting any launch “using ballistic missile technology” and suspend its ballistic missile program.
“We reiterate our call to the DPRK to reconsider its planned launch and abide by these resolutions (…) and join other governments in urging the DPRK to undertake steps towards confidence-building and engagement with the international community,” the DFA said in a statement.
North Korea launched last April another rocket that was supposed to fly over the Philippines, but the exercise failed in an utter embarrassment for North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. – Rappler.com