Binay to protest North Korea’s rocket launch at Seoul summitBy Tina G. Santos
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—The Philippine government will officially make known its opposition to North Korea’s plan to launch an observation satellite into space next month, during the 2nd Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul.
Vice President Jejomar Binay, who will represent President Aquino at the summit, will formally convey the Philippine government’s position on the issue.
Binay left for South Korea Saturday afternoon to attend the summit which will start on Monday.
The Philippines has expressed grave concern over North Korea’s planned rocket launch and has called on the United States for help in monitoring the rocket, parts of which are expected to land off the northern Philippines.
The Philippine and US militaries are coordinating to track the path of the North Korean rocket.
“The Philippine military is coordinating with its US counterpart in the monitoring of the planned launch,” Department of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Raul Hernandez told AFP.
“We continue to strongly urge the DPRK (North Korea) not to proceed with its planned launch,” Hernandez said.
Pyongyang announced last week it would launch the rocket to place a satellite in orbit between April 12 and 16, and insisted this was purely for space research.
But the United States and other nations see the launch as a disguised ballistic missile test.
The DFA earlier issued a statement calling North Korea’s planned satellite launch “unacceptable.”
It also appealed to North Korea to abide by United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1874 and 1718, which call for the “abandonment of its ballistic missile program in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner.”
“They should abide by the UN Security Council resolutions which explicitly demand that they do not conduct any launch using ballistic missile technology.”
Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said on Friday the government needed US help in tracking the rocket’s path, with the poorly equipped Philippine military not having the capability to do so by itself.
In his departure statement, Binay said the 2nd Nuclear Security Summit would present the Philippines with an opportunity to learn and promote wide awareness and understanding of nuclear security.
“We shall be discussing nuclear disarmament, nuclear nonproliferation and the peaceful uses of nuclear energy,” Binay said.
“We shall be exploring various ways of enhancing global nuclear security and safety, in the face of the continuing spread of nuclear weapons and radioactive materials around the world, and the nuclear disaster during last year’s earthquake-tsunami in Fukushima, Japan,” he added.
The conference will be attended by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, US President Barack Obama and more than 50 heads of state from around the world.
“The Philippines sits in the drafting committee of the conference and has been active in all the various stages leading to this summit,” Binay said. With a report from AFP