Philippines protests N. Korea rocket launch


MANILA–The Philippines said Sunday it had filed diplomatic protests over North Korea’s planned rocket launch with the U.N., China, and Southeast Asian nations which hold a summit this week. A top U.S. diplomat has previously said that debris from the launch are expected to land off the Philippines, an archipelago made up of thousands of islands.

Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said that Manila’s diplomatic missions at the United Nations and in China, Pyongyang’s closest ally, were asked to lodge the protest with their North Korean counterparts. Del Rosario said protest letters were also sent to North Korea’s diplomatic posts in members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), of which the Philippines is a member, before a meeting of the bloc this week. The Philippines established diplomatic ties with North Korea in 2000, but Pyongyang has no embassy in Manila and is represented by a nonresident envoy based in Thailand. “I will look for an opportunity to raise our position in Cambodia at ASEAN,” said del Rosario, referring to the group’s annual summit, a two-day meeting which starts in Cambodia on Tuesday. He added that the rocket launch was in clear violation of U.N. resolutions. Kurt Campbell, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, said last month the rocket launch would impact “in an area roughly between Australia, Indonesia and the Philippines.”

He made the comments in a message to Australia’s Foreign Minister Bob Carr, according to a report by the Sydney Morning Herald. Pyongyang announced last month it would launch a rocket between April 12-16 to place a satellite in orbit, sparking alarm in the region.