By Roy Mabasa
The Philippine government expressed serious concern over the launch of what appeared to be an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) by North Korea that landed off the waters of Japan.
“We call on Pyongyang to commit to making meaningful progress towards the peaceful resolution of the issues facing the Korean Peninsula,” the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said in a statement.
At the same time, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano lamented Pyongyang’s continued weapons development, which increases tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
“Meaningful dialogue can only happen when the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) ceases such provocative and highly dangerous actions,” Cayetano said as he called on the DPRK to cease its nuclear weapons development program.
As the outgoing chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Cayetano reiterated the regional grouping’s readiness to play a constructive role to help reduce tensions and promote peace in the Peninsula.
Under the Philippines’ chairmanship, ASEAN issued foreign ministers statements in April and August, urging the DPRK to cease its weapons development and return to the negotiating table.
The latest missile test was Pyongyang’s first launch since September. The missile was launched from a facility in Sain ni and landed in an area within the Japan’s exclusive economic zone.
The DFA official said embassies and consular offices in Seoul, Tokyo and Osaka continue to closely monitor the situation and provide up-to-date information to various Filipino communities in those countries.
There are approximately 65,000 and 242,000 Filipinos living in the Republic of Korea and Japan, respectively.
The DFA noted that the launch is the fourth such incident involving Japan, following a similar missile test on August 29, which ended with a splashdown in the Pacific Ocean. This marks the 14th DPRK ballistic missile test for 2017 alone.
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