THE Philippines on Saturday again appealed to North Korea to stop its acts of provocation and return to the negotiating table.
“We again call on the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) to cease its provocative and highly dangerous actions that threaten the peace, stability and security of the region,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said hours after Pyongyang fired another ballistic missile over Japan.
Cayetano issued the statement from New York where he will attend the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly.
He reiterated Manila’s call for dialogue, saying the missile launches not only undermine efforts to peacefully resolve issues in the Korean Peninsula but also exacerbate the already tense situation there.
“We likewise continue to urge the DPRK to abide by the relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions, as the Philippines remains committed to complying with the same,” he said.
Cayetano will consult with other foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in New York to discuss what Asean can do to help reduce tensions in the Korean Peninsula.
The Asean foreign ministers are scheduled to meet next week in New York and are expected to have a dialogue with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres at the sidelines of the UN general assembly.
“Of course, we are also concerned about the safety of the 242,000 Filipinos in Japan who may be impacted by these provocative acts,” Cayetano said.
“Our Embassy in Tokyo and Consulate General in Osaka are closely monitoring the situation and are regularly providing updates to the Filipino community,” he said.
Friday’s missile launch was the 13th ballistic missile test in North Korea this year. It came on the heels of the adoption of a UN resolution imposing harsher sanctions against Pyongyang.
Early this month, Asean foreign ministers deplored the nuclear tests and emphasized the group’s readiness “to play a constructive role in contributing to peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula.”