Malacañang on Thursday assured the public that the Philippines was prepared in case North Korea makes good on its threat to fire missiles near the US territory of Guam amid its war of words with the United States.
“The [Philippine] embassies and consulates in general, including the one in Hagatna, Guam, have contingency plans which are regularly updated to enable them to respond to emergencies,” Palace spokesman Ernesto Abella said in a news conference.
The Palace official cannot say if President Rodrigo Duterte will convene the National Security Council to discuss the issue.
“I was checking that out. I have not received word, official word, that the security council has been convened,” Abella said.
Abella’s statements came in the wake of North Korea’s threat to fire four missiles near the US territory of Guam.
The warning came hours after US President Donald Trump told Pyongyang any threat to the United States would be met with “fire and fury.”
Some 42,800 Filipinos live in Guam, which is home to a US military base.
Nuclear-armed North Korea announced a detailed plan Thursday to send a salvo of four missiles over Japan and towards the US territory of Guam, raising the stakes in a stand-off with Trump and mocking him as “bereft of reason.”
The distinctively precise statement said the four missiles would be launched simultaneously and overfly the Japanese prefectures of Shimane, Hiroshima and Kochi.
They would have a flight time of 17 minutes 45 seconds, travel 3,356.7 kilometers (2,086 miles) and come down 30 to 40 kilometers away from Guam, it said – which would put the impact points just outside US territorial waters.
The scheme to target the island, a key US military stronghold, was intended to “signal a crucial warning” as “only absolute force” would have an effect on the US leader, the North said.
The war of words over Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs is raising fears of a miscalculation that could lead to catastrophic consequences on the Korean peninsula and beyond.
Last month the North carried out two successful tests of an intercontinental ballistic missile, bringing much of the US mainland within its range.
The western Pacific island of Guam is home to US strategic assets including long-range bombers and military jets and submarines, which are regularly deployed for shows of force in and near the Korean peninsula, to Pyongyang’s fury.
Two supersonic US bombers took off from the island on a fly-over mission to Korea early this week.