Freeman Opinion ( Leaderboard Top ), pagematch: , sectionmatch: 1

ASEAN: How do we solve that problem like Korea?

Last week's annual ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), held in Manila brought together no less than 27 foreign ministers including those of the United States, China, Russia, Japan, North Korea, and South Korea. They, among others, were in addition to the foreign ministers of ASEAN-member nations; Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos PDR, Brunei Darussalam, and of course, the host country, the Philippines with our young and brilliant Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, chairman of the forum. One of the hottest topics in the ARF was the problem posed by the impulsive irresponsibility of North Korea, led by that loose cannon Kim Jong-Un, whom President Duterte called mentally unbalanced.

The ARF ended with the following statement issued jointly by the foreign ministers: "We, the foreign ministers of the ASEAN, reiterate our grave concerns over the escalation of tensions in the Korean Peninsula, including the most recent testing of the Democratic Peoples' Republic of Korea, of intercontinental ballistic missiles on 04 and 28 July 2017, and previous ballistic missile launches and two nuclear tests in 2016." The statement included an urgent call for North Korea to fully comply with its international obligations under all the pertinent UN instruments and conventions, saying: "We strongly call upon North Korea as a participant of ARF to positively contribute to realize the ARF vision to maintain Asia Pacific as a region of lasting peace, stability, friendship, and prosperity''.

The ministers also stressed their combined support for the complete and verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. They also called jointly for the exercise of self-restraint, and underscored the importance of creating conditions conducive for dialogue to lower tensions. Talking of dialogue, the foreign minister of South Korea, Kang Kyung-wha, expressed openness to have a face-to-face talk with North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-Ho. The first female foreign minister of South Korea hopes to deliver to Ri her call for manifestations of peace in their common peninsula.

On the part of our country, we are inextricably intertwined with South Korea and the US, and we are bound to be on the side of South Korea on issues of common concerns. The Philippines has a sizable number of OFWs working in that country. South Korea also has a large portfolio of investments in the Philippines. During the Korean War, we sent the PEFTOK (Philippine Expeditionary Force to South Korea headed by Col. Nicanor T. Jimenez) to help the south fight the north. We have common historical and economic ties. It is to the interest of the Philippines if tensions in the Korean Peninsula are abated. Peace in Asia Pacific is good for our country and for ASEAN as well. Thus, we should find a solution on how to chastise, isolate, or appease this delinquent Kim Jong-Un and his poor but troublesome nation.

josephusbjimenez@gmail.com.

Freeman ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch:
  • Follow Us: