Philippines has possible role in outcome of U.S.–North Korea talks
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines will possibly play a role in whatever the outcome is of the historic summit between United States President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore on Tuesday, June 12.
Luis Cruz, former Philippine ambassador to South Korea, said that Filipinos should closely follow the events in the Korean Peninsula.
“Filipinos should follow very closely the development sa Korean peninsula because we will be affected in all aspects, whether social, cultural, military, people-to-people contact, malaki ang magiging effect sa atin nito (the effects on us will be huge),” he told Rappler editor at large Marites Vitug on Monday, June 11.
The summit is considered as one of the biggest geopolitical events in recent history and it almost didn’t happen after turbulent days of diplomatic brinkmanship. It also comes less than a year after the two leaders traded war threats after Pyongyang tested its nuclear weapons.
But recent developments indicate the reclusive North Korea may be opening up, with Kim even announcing they would halt nuclear tests and intercontinental ballistic missile launches.
Send troops or help rehabilitation
If the talks turn out badly and result in a war, the Philippines may have to send troops again because it is still a member of the United Nations Command.
“So supposing that the outcome of these talks, the summit, is not too favorable, and if worse comes to worst, we go to war, or the US goes to war, the coalition forces will be us who send troops again, and the Philippines is included there,” he explained.
The UN Command consists of 16 nations which sent troops to fight in the Korean War from 1950 to 1953. It has not yet disbanded since the armistice in 1953 and, according to Cruz, the Philippines sometimes sat in the panel when there were negotiations between North Korea and the UN Command.
The former ambassador, however, is confident that there is no reason for war to happen. In this event, the UN Command can be disbanded and the 16 member-states can then be converted into a peacekeeping force.
The Philippines, as a member of the UN Command, can also help in the rehabilitation of North Korea like what the Filipino troops did during the years following the 1953 armistice.
“So ang daming puwedeng gawin ng 16 countries (There are a lot of things for the 16 countries to do), like one is be observer of the peacekeeping force and the other one is they can help in the rehabilitation of say, North Korea, which happened actually after the Korean War, in 1953,” Cruz said.
“We stayed there for two more years to help in the reconstruction and rehabilitation of South Korea,” he added.
The former ambassador has “very high expectations” of the talks based on recent developments between North Korea and other countries.
He said that Kim might have been “pushed into the corner” by both external forces such as sanctions and the people surrounding him inside the country.
“Iyong mga nangyari ngayon na may mga sanction sa kanila ay apparently it's working out so he may have been pushed into a corner (All that’s happening to them, including sanctions, are apparently working so he may have been pushed into a corner),” Cruz explained.
The North Korean leader may be facing pressure, given expectations of people.
“One effect of this summit is you will raise their expectations of the North Korean people,” Cruz said. “I'm sure many of them wouldn't want to go back...to the status quo. Because...they're having a tough time there.” – Rappler.com