Duterte ‘relieved’ after North, South Korea agree on peace

Paterno Esmaquel II
'Of course everyone is relieved because we were all looking at the prospects of a nuclear encounter in our backyard,' says Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque

PHILIPPINE LEADER. President Rodrigo Dutere arrives at the Francisco Bangoy International Airport in Davao City on April 26, 2018 to deliver his speech prior to his departure for the ASEAN Summit in Singapore. Malacañang photo

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte was “very much relieved” after North and South Korea agreed to pursue permanent peace in the Korean Peninsula, said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Friday evening, April 27.  

“Of course everyone is relieved because we were all looking at the prospects of a nuclear encounter in our backyard,” Roque said when asked about Duterte’s reaction to this development.

“As you know, whenever they test their missiles, it always lands in Philippine waters,” Roque added in a press conference Friday evening in Singapore, where Duterte is attending the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Friday issued a declaration on “the common goal of realizing, through complete denuclearization, a nuclear-free Korean peninsula.” 

They also agreed that they would this year seek a permanent end to the Korean War, 65 years after the hostilities ended in an armistice rather than a peace treaty.

Duterte earlier called Kim a “maniac.” The Philippine leader said in August 2017, “He is playing with dangerous toys and this crazy man, do not be fooled by his face, that chubby face that looks nice.” 

While publicly calling on the United States and North Korea to “show restraint,” Duterte had also asked US President Donald Trump in private to “keep the pressure” on Kim.  

The Philippines has repeatedly urged North Korea to stop its missile tests, as the Southeast Asian country pushes for peace in the Korean Peninsula. – with reports from Agence France-Presse/Rappler.com

Paterno Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.