PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has ridiculed North Korea’s supreme leader Kim Jong Un for his persistence in developing a nuclear programme despite international pressure to stop it, calling him “insane, a fool and a maniac”.
In a speech late on Wednesday during the 113th foundation of the Bureau of Internal Revenue, the Philippine strongman stressed the need to stop Pyongyang’s nuclear programme.
“Kim Jong Un is playing with dangerous toys (nuclear weapons). He’s insane. Don’t be fooled by his chubby and kind looks. Son of a bitch, he’s a maniac,” Duterte said.
The Philippine leader warned that North Korea’s nuclear weapons, if not stopped, would have catastrophic effects on both mankind and food security.
Duterte noted North Korea’s nuclear weapon “can make the Far East an arid land.”
“It must be stopped. If a nuclear war erupts, there will be limited confrontation. And if it blows up here, I’ll tell you, the fallout could deplete the soil and its resources and I don’t know what will happen to us,” Duterte said.
“Let us pray to God this fool (will stop),” said the firebrand president, who last year also called former US president Barack Obama “son of a bitch.”
Recently, Pyongyang tested its second intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), which flew for about 45 minutes before landing in the Sea of Japan. The missile test reportedly came dangerously close to a passenger jet’s flight path.
Pentagon officials said the test presented the biggest potential threat yet as it demonstrated the North’s possession of technology that could put the US mainland in range of its rockets.
Officials believe the Hwasong-14 missile tested could possibly even reach New York, according to reports.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Tuesday said the US was not seeking to topple the North Korean government and would like a dialogue with Pyongyang at some point, but only on the understanding it can never be a nuclear power.
Speaking to reporters at the State Department days after Pyongyang tested its second ICBM, Tillerson reiterated Washington sought to persuade North Korea to give up its missile and nuclear weapons programmes through peaceful pressure.
Tillerson is travelling to the Southeast Asian countries of Philippines, Thailand and Malaysia from Aug 5 to 9, the US Embassy in Manila said on Wednesday.
In Manila, he will participate in the Asean Regional Forum, the East Asia Summit Ministerial, the US-Asean Ministerial, and the Lower Mekong Initiative Ministerial. During these meetings, Tillerson will meet with his counterparts and discuss a range of issues including the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula, maritime security and counterterrorism, the embassy said.
The 50th Asean Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Manila was expected to also tackle the South China Sea row and the rise of Islamic radicalism in the region.
The Philippine Department of Affairs said last month North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho would attend the Asean Regional Forum, scheduled on Aug 7, according to an AP report (via The Washington Post).
Early last month, the Philippines joined 121 other nations in adopting a legally binding treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons.
Philippine Permanent Representative to the United Nations (UN) Teodoro L. Locsin Jr. hailed the nuclear prohibition treaty as a step forward “in putting all nuclear weapons firmly on the path of complete, total and irreversible extinction.”
The landmark document was adopted at the UN in New York on July 7.
The treaty is a crucial step towards the total and complete elimination of nuclear weapons, which the Philippines has been pushing for since the early days of the UN.
“This treaty is the capstone of the global disarmament architecture. It strengthens the existing network of treaties and agreements already in place by reaffirming their collectively compelling logic of survival.
“We voted for its adoption because it is the right thing to do,” Locsin said in a statement delivered after the conference adopted the treaty.
The treaty fills the legal gap in the existing disarmament architecture that has already delegitimised chemical and biological weapons but not nuclear weapons, considered the deadliest of all.
Under the treaty, States Parties are prohibited from, among others, developing, testing, producing, manufacturing, acquiring, possessing or stockpiling nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices. They are also banned from using or threatening to use nuclear weapons and explosive devices.
The treaty also prescribes pathways to enable nuclear weapon states to accede in the future and pave the way for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons.
Locsin said the Philippine delegation actively participated in the negotiations and were guided by the provision of the Philippine Constitution, which prohibits nuclear weapons in Philippine territory, and by its obligations under the Bangkok Treaty establishing a Southeast Asian Nuclear Weapons Free Zone.
The treaty prescribes pathways to enable nuclear weapon states to accede in the future.
It will open for signature on Sept 19, 2017 and will enter into force 90 days after the 50th instrument of ratification has been deposited.