MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Philippines on Sunday, September 3, voiced its “grave concern” over North Korea’s detonation of a hydrogen bomb, saying the act “undermines peace and stability in the region.”
In a statement, Philippine Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said Pyongyang’s move also “degrades options for a meaningful dialogue” on issues involving the Korean Peninsula.
“We are gravely concerned over this hydrogen bomb testing by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Such provocative actions undermine regional peace and stability,” said Cayetano, who is in Seoul for an official visit.
“Aside from flouting all of its commitments under relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions, this test limits our available options for meaningful dialogue to address the real issues confronting the Korean Peninsula,” he also said.
The Philippines, this year’s chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), is also calling on Pyongyang to return to the negotiating table.
“ASEAN is ready to play a role in creating diplomatic space to effect meaningful dialogue,” added Cayetano.
Other countries have denounced North Korea’s actions, including China, its main diplomatic ally and economic supporter.
Filipinos in Korea
Cayetano met with Philippine Foreign Assistant Secretary for Asia-Pacific Affairs Millicent Cruz-Paredes and Philippine Ambassador to Seoul Raul Hernandez to discuss the situation in the Korean Peninsula.
Cayetano ordered the Philippine embassy in Seoul to ensure that the estimated 65,000 Filipinos living and working in South Korea are made aware of the contingency plans.
He also met with some 300 members of the Filipino community in Seoul, assuring them that the Philippine government is ready to help with evacuation, if the situation further escalates.
The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) advised Filipinos to regularly check the embassy’s social media accounts for emergency alerts and advisories.
On Monday, September 4, the Philippine Department of National Defense (DND) also said it is closely monitoring the situation in the Korean Peninsula.
“The Department of National Defense is greatly concerned with the latest hydrogen bomb test conducted by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The proliferation of this weapon increases the tension not only in the Korean Peninsula but also adversely affects the peace and security of the whole of Asia as well,” said the DND in a statement.
It added that while Pyongyang’s latest test “may not directly affect” the Philippines, “the DND will continue to monitor the situation, and the Office of Civil Defense is on alert following our standard operating procedures.”
On Sunday, North Korea carried out a 6th nuclear test more powerful than any it has previously detonated.
Pyongyang said it has tested a hydrogen bomb with “perfect success,” a jubilant newsreader announced on state television, adding the device could be mounted on a missile.
The test was of a bomb with “unprecedently large power,” she said, and “marked a very significant occasion in attaining the final goal of completing the state nuclear force.”