PH expresses hopes for denuclearization following US-North Korea summit

The Philippines has commended the historic meeting of President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un while affirming support for peace, stability, security, and denuclearization in the region.

Acknowledging the remaining challenges, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano on Tuesday, June 12 said the meeting between Trump and Kim underscored the “importance and value of dialogue and diplomacy in seeking resolution to outstanding issues among all concerned parties.”

“We strongly commend all parties for their unremitting efforts and commitment that led to the realization of this historic meeting,” said Cayetano. “The Philippines hopes that the precedent set today will provide impetus to further concrete actions towards the goals of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, the establishment of lasting peace, stability and security in the region.”

He added, “The Philippines stands ready to contribute to the realization of these goals.”

Trump’s meeting with Kim during which a “firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula” was signed, has had the international community watching closely at likely outcomes.

Former Philippine Ambassador to South Korea Luis Cruz told Rappler a day before the meeting that Filipinos needed to keep a close eye on the Korean Peninsula situation while hinting at possible effects.

“Filipinos should follow very closely the development sa Korean peninsula because we will be affected in all aspects, whether social, cultural, military, people-to-people contact, malaki ang magiging effect sa atin nito (the effects on us will be huge),” he said.

Being that the Philippines is still a United Nations Command member, Cruz said that puts the country in the position of having to send out troops if a situation called for it.

“So supposing that the outcome of these talks, the summit, is not too favorable, and if worse comes to worst, we go to war, or the U.S. goes to war, the coalition forces will be us who send troops again, and the Philippines is included there,” Cruz told Rappler.

The UN Command sent troops out to fight the Korean War that lasted from 1950 to 1953, signing the Korean Armistice Agreement with the Chinese-North Korean Command.  Cruz said the Philippines was sometimes included in the panel during North Korean and UNC negotiations.

Another outcome could call for the Philippines to be an aid in the rehabilitation of North Korea which was the case in 1953, said Cruz.

“So ang daming pwedeng gawin ng 16 countries (There are a lot of things for the 16 countries to do), like one is be observer of the peacekeeping force and the other one is they can help in the rehabilitation of say, North Korea, which happened actually after the Korean War, in 1953,” he said.

“We stayed there for two more years to help in the reconstruction and rehabilitation of South Korea.”

In September 2017, the Philippines suspended trade relations with North Korea in compliance with a U.N. Security Council resolution made over North Korea’s string of missile tests at the time.  The Philippines was the country’ fifth-largest trade partner.

Previously referring to Kim as a “fool” and having many times criticized his nuclear ambitions, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte called Kim a “hero of everybody” in April after the North Korean leader met with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and vowed to work towards complete denuclearization.

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