FEALAC airs concern on NoKor provocation

By Helen Flores

BUSAN – The 36 member-countries of the Forum for East Asia-Latin America Cooperation (FEALAC) yesterday expressed grave concern over North Korea’s repeated provocations, including its latest missile launch over Japan, and continued to call for peaceful denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano attended the FEALAC meeting held at the Nurimaru APEC House here. The Philippines is a founding member of the FEALAC.

In a declaration issued by FEALAC members yesterday afternoon, the countries expressed support for the peaceful denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, reaffirming the importance of complying with the relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions.

In a press conference, South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha branded Pyongyang’s missile launch over Japan last Tuesday as a serious incident.

Early this month, the UN Security Council imposed new sanctions on North Korea for its continued intercontinental ballistic missile testing and violations of UN resolutions.

Kang said many countries also expressed their support for President Moon Jae-in’s initiative to bring peace to the Korean Peninsula.

“I hope that the unified voice of the 16 East Asian countries and 20 Latin American countries will be heard by Pyongyang,” Kang said.

‘Business as usual’

Philippine Ambassador Raul Hernandez said Filipinos in South Korea continue with their normal routines despite North Korea’s recent missile launch over Japan. There are 65,000 Filipinos in South Korea.

“It’s business as usual for Filipino communities here. They are used to such provocation and they continue to work and live just like other Koreans. They are a little bit concerned on what is going on but life continues,” Hernandez told The STAR on the sidelines of the FEALAC meeting here.

Hernandez said they regularly meet with Filipino communities here and inform them of the contingency plan in case an accident happens.

He said the Philippine embassy also relays its messages to Filipinos through social media such as Facebook.

Cayetano said the Philippines is dealing with Pyongyang’s ongoing missile tests in different ways, noting that every conflict affects everyone in the region and eventually the world.

“First as a peacemaker… we’re telling other countries that we’re ready to do our part (to help achieve peaceful resolution in the Korean Peninsula),” he said.

“As a responsible member of the UN, we support the UN Security Council resolution,” Cayetano said, referring to the UN Security Council resolution imposing sanctions on North Korea.

He said ASEAN has recently come out with a strong statement against Pyongyang’s missile test and is ready “to stand with our Asian neighbors Japan and Republic of Korea.”

He said Pyongyang could not demand or provoke the rest of the region in the name of security.           

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