By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
TOKYO, Japan — What if the Philippines initiates simmering down the tension between the rogue state of North Korea and the rest of the world?
Incoming Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, an international law expert, said if it were just up to him, he would advise President Duterte to lead the talks with North Korea about its nuclear aggression.
This after the President, in the Joint Press Statement with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Monday, called on all interested stakeholders to return to the negotiation table and settle the situation peacefully.
Referring to President Duterte, Roque said: “I will strongly advise him because I think he has the stature in the region. I think leaders respect him as a strong and able leader. And he could be the person to make a difference,” Roque told Filipino reporters in Tokyo.
When asked if the Duterte would be interested in taking on the task imputed to him, Roque said, in a hopeful response, he would consult with him first.
“I will confer with him. And I would say that if there is an opportunity the President would welcome that opportunity,” Roque said.
The lawmaker, however, said he is unsure of the impact the Philippines might have over North Korea since China might still have the biggest influence over the rogue state.
“…I do not know how much influence we could exert over the North Korea, quite frankly. The reality is ties are closest between China and North Korea.” Roque said.
“The perception is that the bulk of their [North Korea’s] economic and military ties are with China. China is still the most influential country as far as North Korea is concerned,” he added.
Roque reiterated that talking with North Korea would be one of the many effective ways to resolve the situation in the Korean Peninsula.
“The President, in his departure speech, said countries should still try to engage and talk to North Korea. So I do not know if the President would be instrumental in this kind of communication, but that is one way,” he said.
During Duterte and Abe’s Joint Press Statement at the Kantei, the Prime Minister’s Office in Tokyo, the two leaders condemned the threat of North Korea’s nuclear warfare as the two allied countries vow to address security issues confronting the region.
“We need to address many issues confronting the region and threats to the stability and security [in the] Asia-Pacific. Foremost among our shared concerns are developments in the Korean peninsula and the continuing missile launch tests of North Korea,” Duterte said Monday.
“We condemn these tests and call on all concerned stakeholders to return to the negotiating table to peacefully resolve the situation,” he added.
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