THE Philippines has suspended its trade relations with North Korea in compliance with the resolution of the United Nations (UN) Security Council imposing sanctions on Pyongyang, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said.
The UN Security Council in August adopted Resolution 2371 which imposed tougher sanctions against North Korea, barring it from supplying, selling or transferring coal, iron, iron ore, seafood, lead and lead ore to other countries.
The resolution also prohibits countries from increasing the current numbers of North Korean laborers working abroad, bans new joint ventures with North Korea and any new investment in current joint ventures.
It also reaffirmed its directive for North Korea to scrap its nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs in a complete, verifiable, and irreversible manner.
Cayetano said he had discussed the government’s compliance with the UN resolution with officials of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
“Well, the UNSC is quite clear so part of this is the economic sanctions and the Philippines will comply,” Cayetano told reporters in an interview.
The Philippines is North Korea’s fifth largest trade partner. In 2015, the country’s main exports to Pyongyang were computers, circuited boards, bananas and women’s undergarments.
Cayetano said the Department of Foreign Affairs and DTI received instructions from Malacañang to enforce the sanctions meted by the UN Security Council against North Korea.
“What I can tell you is 100 percent we are with the world in wanting the denuclearization in the Korean peninsula. We are against anything that causes instability, we are against provocations,” he added.
Top diplomats of the member-states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) in August issued a statement urging North Korea to comply immediately and fully with its obligations under UN Security Council resolutions.
The Philippines, Cayetano said, is open for dialogue with North Korea.
“Asean has also ordered me or asked me as the rotating chairman on the ministerial level to reach out to North Korea,” he added.
North Korea on September 3 detonated a hydrogen bomb, prompting countries, including the Philippines, to raise serious concerns and call on Pyongyang to comply with the UN Security Council resolution.