MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines on Tuesday, August 29, voiced its “grave concern” after North Korea fired a ballistic missile over Japan and into the Pacific Ocean.
In a statement, Philippine Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano also recalled the statement of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) foreign ministers on August 5, reiterating their “grave concerns” over the missile tests of North Korea, also known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).
“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,” Cayetano said.
The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said this is the second time that North Korea “fired a missile over Japanese airspace.” The first time was in 1998.
“ASEAN and the Philippines, as this year’s chair, remain committed to peaceful resolutions of conflict,” Cayetano added.
“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 said.
Keeping OFWs safe
In his statement, Cayetano also said he has instructed the Philippine embassy in Tokyo “to continue to closely monitor the situation and to ensure that approximately 242,000 Filipinos living and working in Japan are safe.”
North Korea’s launch came after a strained period on the peninsula due to Pyongyang’s testing of two intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) last month that appeared to bring much of the US mainland within reach.
Tokyo said North Korea’s missile overflew the country’s northernmost island Hokkaido, with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe saying the government would take “full steps” to ensure the safety of the Japanese people.
“Their outrageous act of firing a missile over our country is an unprecedented, serious, and grave threat and greatly damages regional peace and security,” he told reporters.
The US confirmed the launch and the overflight of Japan, with Pentagon spokesman Colonel Rob Manning saying the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) determined it “did not pose a threat to North America.” – with reports from Agence France-Presse / Rappler.com