The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Friday allayed fears over North Korea’s plan to fire ballistic missiles near the US Pacific territory of Guam some 1,500 miles from Manila.
In a news conference, AFP spokesman Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla Jr. said the possibility that the Philippines could be hit if North Korea proceeded with its threat was “remote.”
“It’s a source of concern that’s why the Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) leaders or foreign ministers discussed it thoroughly and came up with a statement. But we don’t see this as potentially hitting us in any way because it is directed toward an outer island in the Pacific itself,” Padilla told reporters.
“If it (North Korea’s ballistic missile) disintegrates in the atmosphere potentially, debris would have shattered that could scatter around the area or its trajectory. So it could hit some northern coastal areas. We have to forewarn our citizens to be on the lookout. But that’s something that we see as remote,” he added.
Padilla made the statement after the North Korean Strategic Force of the Korean People’s Army said on Thursday it was “seriously examining a plan” to fire a missile near Guam.
This was after US President Donald Trump warned that Pyongyang would face “fire and fury lie like the world has never seen,” should it continue to threaten the United States.
North Korea was reportedly mulling sending Hwasong-12 intermediate-range strategic ballistic rockets “to interdict the enemy forces on major military bases on Guam.”
Assistant Secretary Kristoffer James Purisima, deputy administrator for administration of the Office of Civil Defense, said the government was closely monitoring the situation in the Korean peninsula.
“We will coordinate with the DND (Department of Defense), AFP, and relevant government agencies and meet necessary assessments in order to prepare appropriate contingency plans, alerts, and warnings for the awareness and protection of our civilian populace,” he said.