Manila Bulletin

Duterte welcomes Trump-Kim meeting


President Duterte welcomes the upcoming meeting between United States President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in May saying that this will finally cause the tension between the two countries to simmer down.

Presidenti­al Spokesman Harry Roque made the statement after it was reported that Trump

has accepted Kim’s invitation to meet for negotiatio­ns over North Korea’s nuclear program after trading threats of war.

Roque told reporters in Iloilo City that Duterte wishes nothing but for these two strong-willed countries to come to terms as a war would only put the world at its end.

“We welcome this dialogue between the head of North Korea and President Trump. Si Presidente Duterte po noong ASEAN, noong APEC… paulit-ulit po niyang sinasabi na wala pong interes na magkaroon ng giyera dito sa ating rehiyon (President Duterte has said over and over again that he has no interest in having a war in the Southeast Asian region),” Roque said.

“Ang giyera po ay magiging dahilan para tumigil na naman ang nararamdam­an nating pag-unlad dito sa ating bayan. Kaya ang inaasahan po niya, ang mga hindi pinagkakas­unduan ng Amerika at ng North Korea, mapaguusap­an (A war would only hamper the developmen­t of our country. That’s why he is hoping that the US and North Korea would be able to talk about the things they don’t agree on),” he added.

Roque also said that the President hailed the upcoming meeting between the two leaders, citing that this may finally prompt the peaceful resolution of the tension in the Korean Peninsula.

“At ngayong mag-uusap po sila, ito po’y dahilan para magalak naman ang Presidente, at nagbibigay ng pag-asa na itong kontrobers­iya ng Korean Peninsula ay mabibigyan ng mapayapang solusyon (The President is happy as they will now be talking. This gives hope that the controvers­y in the Korean Peninsula will finally be resolved peacefully),” he said.

According to the White House, Trump agreed to meet with Kim by May this year in hopes of achieving a permanent denucleari­zation.

Trump, in his Twitter account, said that North Korea’s earlier talk with the South about denucleari­zation is a welcome developmen­t. However, the US President said that sanctions will remain until they reach an agreement.

“Kim Jong-un talked about denucleari­zation with the South Korean Representa­tives, not just a freeze. Also, no missile testing by North Korea during this period of time,” Trump tweeted March 9, 2018.

“Great progress being made but sanctions will remain until an agreement is reached. Meeting being planned!” he added.

In the Southeast Asian region, Duterte, who was chairman of the Associatio­n of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) last year, expressed concern over North Korea’s nuclear warfare 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 on the sidelines of the 31st ASEAN Summit in Manila last November.

“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.

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