By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
BUSAN, South Korea – President Duterte pressed for the peaceful resolution of the conflict in the Korean Peninsula while reiterating the Philippines’s support for South Korea in any way it can, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said.
Lorenzana made the statement following Duterte’s bilateral meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in here.
In an interview, Lorenzana said that while the country cannot do much, Duterte reassured Moon about the Philippines’ support for South Korea in the conflict.
“Sinabi niya na supported natin ang South Korea sa mga problema sa (He told President Moon that we support South Korea in its problems regarding the) Korean Peninsula. [He pushed for the] Peaceful resolution of the conflict,” he said.
“Hindi pa natin alam. Kung ano yung hihingiin ng Korea siguro. Kung magkaroon ng crisis diyan, tsaka lang tayo magre-react (We don’t know how we can help, maybe with whatever South Korea needs. We will only react when a crisis happens),” he added.
Earlier, Communications Secretary Martin Andanar told reporters here that Duterte would be advancing the welfare of Filipinos when talking about peace and stability in the region, particularly in the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
“The interest of the Filipino people ay dadalhin ni Presidente sa (will be raised by the President here in) South Korea and that includes regional security kasi meron na tayong problema sa West Philippine Sea. Hindi naman pwede dagdagan pa yan ng Korean Peninsula (because we already have a problem in the West Philippine Sea. We cannot be worrying about the Korean Peninsula, too),” he said.
The Korean Peninsula initiated a peace process last year in an effort to denuclearization and to resolve the long-standing conflict between the North and South Korea. However, the talks went sour in April this year when North Korea gave the Unites States a deadline to show more flexibility in the talks.
North Korea’s nuclear weapon development and testing caused great concern over the past years and even escalated in 2017 when tensions arose between the rogue state and the United States.
In 2017 Duterte, as then ASEAN chairman, expressed concern over North Korea’s nuclear ambitions and said that the Philippines will support Japan in its stance against the rogue state.
“We are supporting you against what North Korea is doing. We condemn the continued posturing of North Korea with the nuclear weapons,” Duterte said.
“We have said it several times already in the past that it is not to the interest of North Korea to swagger around and threaten the world, of keeping us hostage with the atomic weapons,” he added.