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PH calls for restraint on Pyongyang threat

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By Genalyn Kabiling

The Philippine government has called anew for self-restraint after North Korea issued another threat to launch missile attack on the United States.

Concerned parties must scale down rhetoric and avoid actions that would escalate the tension in the Korean peninsula, according to Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella.

MISSILE POWER – A man at Incheon airport watches a television newscast showing file footage of a North Korean missile launch last August. North Korea test-fired a submarine-launched ballistic missile last August 24, days after threatening a nuclear strike in retaliation at the start of large-scale South Korea-US military exercises. (AFP Photo | Manila Bulletin)

MISSILE POWER – A man at Incheon airport watches a television newscast showing file footage of a North Korean missile launch last August. North Korea test-fired a submarine-launched ballistic missile last August 24, days after threatening a nuclear strike in retaliation at the start of large-scale South Korea-US military exercises. (AFP Photo | Manila Bulletin)

“The Philippines reiterates its call for continued exercise of self-restraint in order to deescalate the tension and to refrain from actions that may aggravate the situation on the Korean Peninsula,” Abella said.

Tension in the Korean peninsula has recently escalated following the dramatic exchange of threats between the United States and North Korea.

North Korea has warned of an imminent missile attack on the US territory of  Guam, saying its army was just waiting for a final order for the attack.

US President Donald Trump fired back and threatened to unleash “fire and fury like the world has never seen” if Pyongyang does not stop threatening the US or its allies.

Abella, meantime, assured the Philippine posts in Seoul,  South Korea and Agana in Guam are closely monitoring the situation. They have also been working closely with the Filipino communities in the Republic of Korea and the island of  Guam, respectively, to ensure preparedness for any eventuality, he said.

Armed Forces spokesman Restituto Padilla Jr. earlier admitted that there is a “remote possibility” that the country could be affected if North Korea makes good its threat to attack Guam, which is about 2,400 kilometers east of the Philippines.

Padilla said shattered debris from the missile strikes may hit some northern coastal areas.

“We don’t see this as potentially hitting us in any way because it is directed towards an outer island in the Pacific itself.  If ever it disintegrates in the atmosphere. Potentially, it would have shattered debris that may scatter around in the area or its trajectory,” Padilla said.

“So it could hit some northern coastal areas. We have to forewarn our citizens to be on the lookout. But that’s something that we see as remote,” he added.

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