MANILA - The Philippines on Tuesday expressed "grave concern" over North Korea's firing of a ballistic missile over Japan and called on Pyongyang to participate in a dialogue.
“We call on the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) to halt these dangerous and provocative actions, which heighten tensions, increase instability and the risk of miscalculation, and could possibly endanger lives," Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said in a statement.
The top diplomat also emphasized the recent call of Southeast Asian foreign ministers for a denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, as he urged the North "to fully comply with its obligations under the relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions."
"ASEAN and the Philippines, as this year's Chair, remain committed to peaceful resolutions of conflict," Cayetano said.
"While we are ready to do our part, provocations such as this latest missile launch should stop to help us put in place an environment that would be conducive for dialogue," he said.
According to South Korea and Japan, North Korea fired a missile around 5:00 a.m. (Philippine Time) that flew over Japan and landed in the Pacific waters off the northern region of Hokkaido.
The Department of Foreign Affairs said the missile launch "set off warnings for people to take emergency shelter."
Cayetano assured Filipinos in Japan that the Philippine posts in Tokyo and Osaka "are prepared to assist them should it be necessary."
Earlier this month, the UN issued sanctions banning key North Korean exports amid persistent nuclear threats of Kim Jong Un's reclusive regime.
The North Korean leader recently threatened to fire a missile at the United States' Pacific territory of Guam, also home to a sizeable Filipino community, but held back saying he wanted to see America's next move first.