There is no room for comfort in the face of an escalating nuclear threat, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said Friday, reiterating the Philippines' decision to distance itself from North Korea.
Speaking to Al Jazeera English "UpFront" host Mehdi Hasan, Cayetano discussed Manila's decision for imposing a trade ban.
“North Korea keeps telling us that we are friends, they are our friends, and they have warm relationships. But they don’t give an opening to talk of how to stop the nuclear weapon program there.”
Last month, the Philippines suspended its economic ties with North Korea to comply with a U.N. Security Council resolution in response to its missile tests.
“When you have the North Korean leader, claiming to have missiles that would have far reaches, and you’d have his hand on the trigger, then you have the United States saying we’re watching you and ready to do anything, including your destruction. You know, there’s no room for comfort,” Cayetano said.
It was previously reported that the Philippines is North Korea's fifth-largest trade partner, with bilateral trade from January to June this year worth $28.8 million, based on the records from the state-run Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency.
North Korea imported $28.8 million worth of products from the Philippines in 2016 while Manila's imports from Pyongyang was pegged at $16.1 million.
The country's main exports to North Korea in 2015 were computers, integrated circuited boards, bananas and women's undergarments, according to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).