Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said he will urge his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump not to go to war with North Korea in a phone call scheduled later on Saturday.
Speaking after wrapping up a meeting of leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Manila, Duterte said the U.S. needed to be prudent and patient.
“I am expecting a call from President Trump tonight,” Duterte said. “Who am I to say you should stop but I would just say Mr. President please see to it that there’s no war because my region will suffer immensely,” Duterte said. “Everybody is worried.”
Earlier on Saturday, North Korea test-fired a ballistic missile just hours after U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson mounted an effort at the United Nations to rally pressure against Kim Jong Un’s regime.
Trump has threatened to act unilaterally against North Korea if China fails to do more to curb its neighbor’s activities.
In a tweet shortly after the missile launch Saturday, Trump said North Korea had disrespected the wishes of China and “its highly respected President when it launched, though unsuccessfully, a missile today. Bad!”
With concerns about North Korea dominating the summit, Duterte, who is the current chairman of Asean, compared the standoff to two countries playing with toys.
“We have to caution everybody including those who’d give the advice to the two players because you have nuclear warheads to just show restraint,” Duterte said. “One miscalculation of a missile, whether or not a nuclear warhead or an ordinary bomb, one explosion there that would hit somebody would cause a catastrophe.”
As the leader of the more responsible country, Duterte said he was sure Trump was cautioning his military to “hang on there and not to start something which they can’t control.”
Duterte said China’s recent actions in the South China Sea, which have overshadowed recent Asean summits, were not discussed at the leaders’ meeting on Saturday, describing any talks on the issue as “useless.”
China’s attempts to assert its dominance over the South China Sea, one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes that carries more than $5 trillion in annual trade, have in the past angered Southeast Asian nations with competing maritime claims such as Vietnam and the Philippines.
The waterway has become a flash point in a broader tussle for regional influence between China and the U.S. in Asia.
“We want a code of conduct enacted at the very least before the end of this year so that everybody will feel comfortable sailing there because if not then it remains to be a flash point,” Duterte said.
Duterte said China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ project would help neighboring countries and expand markets, adding that the reason for China’s pursuit of the project could only be economics.
Source: newsmax – Duterte Will Urge Trump Against NKorea War in Saturday Call
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