The Philippines would continue to press North Korea to abandon its plan to launch a long-range rocket next month, Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said Sunday.
Del Rosario told the Inquirer that the Philippines would convey its concern to the North Korean Embassy in Beijing, China, and to Pyongyang’s permanent representative to the United Nations in New York.
Pyongyang has said the first stage of the rocket is expected to fall in international waters about 140 kilometers off the South Korean west coast, while the second stage is projected to splash down some 190 km off the northeast coast of the Philippines.
The rocket launch is planned for between April 12 and 16.
Del Rosario urged Pyongyang to adhere to its pledge to observe a moratorium on long-range missile launches, nuclear testing and uranium enrichment activity.
On Wednesday, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) called on North Korea not to proceed with the rocket launch, calling it “unacceptable.” The launch is timed to coincide with mass celebrations marking the 100th birth anniversary of North Korea’s late founding president, Kim Il-sung.
The United States and its allies say it is a pretext for a missile test that will violate UN Security Council resolutions.
One such resolution, which was passed after North Korea’s missile and nuclear tests in 2009, bans ballistic missile launches for any purpose.
The Philippines joins “other governments in urging North Korea to adhere to its recent pledge for a moratorium on long-range missile launches and nuclear tests,” the DFA said.
The Philippines is a longtime ally of the United States and South Korea, having sent troops to fight under the UN flag to defend the South from a North Korean invasion during the
1950-1953 Korean War.
Manila established diplomatic relations with Pyongyang in 2000, one of the last Asian governments to do so. The Philippines does not have an embassy or a consulate in North Korea.
Japan has threatened to shoot down the North Korean rocket if it threatens Japanese territory.
The Philippines has called for US help in monitoring the rocket launch.
The planned rocket launch is expected to be the subject of discussions at the nuclear security summit in Seoul, which starts today.
The summit is to be attended by the presidents of the United States, China and Russia, among other world leaders. The meeting will focus on nuclear terrorism.
Vice President Jejomar Binay is representing President Aquino at the conference.