Palace says gov't closely watching dev'ts in Korea Peninsula

The Philippine government continues to monitor the developments in the Korean Peninsula particularly North Korea’s plan for a missile test, Malacanang said on Thursday.

In a press conference in Malacanang, Secretary Ramon Carandang of the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office (PCDSPO) said the Palace is alarmed by North Korea’s planned missile launch.

“We are certainly disturbed by the provocative actions being taken by North Korea but, of course, our number one priority is to make sure that the Filipinos, who might number as much as 40,000 if I’m not mistaken, that we’re doing what we can to keep them out of harm’s way,” he said.

“We’re closely monitoring the situation. The DFA is in touch with our allies and the governments that are involved in this, like Japan and South Korea," Carandang added.

The Philippine government is also following closely the multi-state discussions on how to resolve the situation in the Korean Peninsula, Carandang said.

But the Palace official also said that the Philippines, being a small country, is not in a position to largely influence the outcome of the discussions.

“The best we can do at this point is to support our allies who are trying to deescalate the situation and to make sure that the Filipinos living there will be provided all the necessary assistance that they need should the situation deteriorate,” he said.

Carandang also assured that the readiness of the government’s contingency measures in case hostilities break out in the region as he declined to discuss the specifics of the measures to be taken because of certain sensitivities.

Last week, President Aquino said the government is ready for any emergency and the Department of Foreign Affairs is in touch with Filipino community organizations in South Korea to make sure that they are prepared to evacuate if there’s a need.

The chief executive also said the Philippine government has a much improved logistical capability to move out Filipinos out of South Korea if a shooting war starts.

The American military is watching closely the east coast of the Korean Peninsula, where North Korea is believed to have prepared mobile ballistic missiles for launch at any time.

Japan said it has deployed missile defense systems around Tokyo to protect its population from any missile launch by North Korea.