Lacson: Vigilance, Preparedness Needed in North Korea Situation

Aside from the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, the Philippine government will have to be “vigilant and prepared” over the situation in North Korea, Sen. Panfilo “Ping” M. Lacson said over the weekend.

Lacson cited continued reports of recent aggressive behavior from North Korea, including the firing of a suspected ballistic missile days before presidential elections in South Korea.

“We need to watch this carefully, this is very close to us and quite unpredictable,” said Lacson, who chairs the Senate Committee on National Defense and Security.

Related: Ping: Namumuong Tensyon sa North Korea, Kailangan Ding Paghandaan

He cited reports over the past weeks where North Korea has tested missiles twice.

While North Korea claimed its tests last Feb. 26 and March 4 were connected to a new reconnaissance satellite program, the United States said analysis indicates it may be testing an ICBM.

A statement from the US Indo-Pacific Command said the “recent series” of ballistic missile launches by the DPRK “violate multiple UN Security Council resolutions and pose a threat to the DPRK’s neighbors and the international community.”

In response to North Korea’s activities, the US Indo-Pacific Command has increased its surveillance and reconnaissance collection in the Yellow Sea, and enhanced readiness among its ballistic missile defense forces in the region.

Lacson said the Philippines thus needs “to be equally vigilant as any flashpoint involving the Republic of Korea and Japan affects thousands of Filipinos in these two countries, aside from military responses from other quarters.”

“I hope that it does not come to this and that diplomacy will prevail. However, the reality is that the situation requires vigilance and preparedness on our part,” he added.

Last month, Lacson called for similar vigilance and preparedness on the situation in Ukraine. The economic effects of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have been felt in the Philippines.

Over the weekend, Lacson also urged the government to be ready for any possible spillover of the Russia-Ukraine crisis to Asia.

“Mabuti rin na naka-ready tayo kesa mabigla tayo (It is better to be prepared than be surprised),” he said in an interview on DZRH radio, referring to the situation in Ukraine.