Let big boys deal with North Korea rocket launch, Enrile tells gov’t
Playing down threats to the Philippines from a North Korean rocket launch, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said Monday that the country was not in a position to meddle with the launch planned for mid-April.
Enrile, in effect, cautioned the Aquino administration against talking too much about North Korea’s space and nuclear programs.
President Benigno Aquino III announced on Tuesday that his government was preparing for anything that may happen if North Korea proceeded with the launch. It is feared that debris from the rocket would fall in Philippine territory, possibly in waters off Aurora province.
An apprehensive Mr. Aquino said the preparations included asking help from experts from the United States and Japan who could help tell the country exactly where debris from the rocket would fall.
North Korea plans to launch the rocket between April 12 and 16.
Without naming the President, Enrile said it was best for Malacañang to leave dealing with the rocket launch to big regional and global powers.
“Of course, we’re against it,” Enrile said in an interview with dzBB radio. “You won’t be happy that your neighbor would be exploding a missile in your direction. But we don’t have the capability to prevent it. What can we explode, fireworks?”
Enrile rejected proposals for a Senate inquiry into the rocket launch. “No need for that,” Enrile said. “What can the Senate do if Korea launches [a] missile? Let’s leave that issue to the Japanese, Koreans and Americans.”
The rocket launch, Enrile said, should be a concern for North Korea’s neighbors like Japan, China and South Korea, and for the United States which believes the launch is a test for an intercontinental ballistic missile that can reach the US mainland.
Enrile said the launch was a warning to these countries that North Korea, although a small, impoverished nation, had the capability to inflict lethal, large-scale damage on its enemies.
Enrile also said he believed North Korean nuclear scientists had carefully calculated the rocket’s trajectory so that debris would not fall in populated areas.
“I think [debris will] not fall on us,” Enrile said. “Although they say North Korea is backward, [its rocket] scientists … are not foolish.”
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