PH to North Korea: Stop ‘provocative’ missile tests, start peace talks

Mara Cepeda
PH to North Korea: Stop ‘provocative’ missile tests, start peace talks
Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano says the Philippine embassy in Tokyo and the Consulate General in Osaka are closely monitoring Filipinos working in Japan

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines has urged North Korea to stop its missile tests and head to the negotiation table instead, hours after Pyongyang launched another missile over Japan.

“We again call on the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) to cease its provocative and highly dangerous actions that threaten the peace, stability, and security of the region,” said Philippine Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano in a statement on Saturday, September 16. 

“DPRK must put a stop to these tests and to start talks instead,” added Cayetano, who is in New York for the 72nd Session of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly. 

On Friday, September 15, North Korea fired a ballistic missile over Japan and into the Pacific Ocean after the UN Security Council imposed an 8th set of sanctions against it. Pyongyang said the missile contained a small hydrogen bomb.

According to Cayetano, North Korea’s missile launches “not only undermine efforts towards a peaceful resolution of issues in the Korean Peninsula but also exacerbate an already tense situation there.”

“We likewise continue to urge the DPRK to abide by the relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions, as the Philippines remains committed to complying with the same,” said Cayetano.

The Philippine official plans to consult with fellow foreign ministers in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on what they can do to reduce tensions in Korea. The ASEAN foreign ministers are scheduled to meet in New York next week.

North Korea previously fired a ballistic missile over Japan on August 29, which also ended up in the Pacific Ocean. (READ: PH slams North Korea for missile over Japan)

Concern for OFWs in Japan 

Cayetano said the Philippine government is “concerned” over the safety of some 242,000 Filipinos in Japan who may be affected by North Korea’s missile launches. 

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

“Our kababayans (countrymen) 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. 

Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana himself expressed alarm over North Korea’s latest missile launch 

“Even the President is very much concerned about these missiles from North Korea. We fear them. [It’s] very concerning,” said Lorenzana in a press briefing on Friday, September 15. – Rappler.com

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or tweet @maracepeda.