NEW YORK – Responding to North Korea’s launching of a missile that flew over the Japanese island of Hokkaido, Philippines’ Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter S. Cayetano issued a statement calling 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.”
He emphasized that the “ASEAN and the Philippines, as this year’s Chair, remain committed to peaceful resolutions of conflict” and urged DPRK to stop, and sought its assistance to put in place an “environment that would be conducive for dialogue.”
There are about 242,000 Filipinos living and working in Japan. He has instructed the Philippine Embassy in Tokyo to continue to monitor the situation and ensure their safety.
“I wish to assure our kababayans in Japan that our Embassy in Tokyo and our Consulate General in Osaka are prepared to assist them should it be necessary,” Secretary Cayetano said.
North Korea launched in July two intercontinental ballistic missiles which were capable of reaching the U.S. territory of Guam where 42,835 Filipinos live and work. This started a “war of words” between U.S. President Donald Trump and DPRK’s Kim Jong Un.
According to the South Korean military, the missile that was launched by North Korea early Tuesday (Aug. 29), flew an estimated 2,700 km (1,680 miles) for 14 minutes. It passed over the Japanese island of Hokkaido before breaking up in three pieces and landing in the Pacific ocean.
Shortly thereafter, F-15 fighter jets were dispatched by the South for a practice drill. The planes dropped MK-84 bombs against a simulated target at the Pilsung Firing training range as a warning signal to DPRK’s latest provocation.
In early August, the U.S. led an effort for new sanctions against North Korea which the UN Security Council approved. These sanctions – with the backing of Russia and China – was estimated to cost North Korea about $1billion a year.
Last week, South Korea and the U.S. began annual war games involving thousands of troops in a two-week ‘Ulchi Freedom Guardian’ exercise on the Korean Peninsula in a move which the North views as highly provocative, seeing it as a rehearsal for an invasion.
North Korea also fired three short-range ballistic missiles on Friday (Aug. 25), in apparent retaliation for military exercises involving South Korea, the US and Britain.
The Philippine Consulate in New York said that there are about 66,000 Filipinos in South Korea.