April 30, 2017 12:32 am JST

Duterte asks Trump to be prudent with North Korea

Philippine president says Kim Jong Un 'simply wants to end the world'

MIKHAIL FLORES, Nikkei staff writer

MANILA -- Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is urging U.S. President Donald Trump for prudence in dealing with North Korea.

After a summit here among leaders of Southeast Asian nations on Saturday, Duterte told reporters he was scheduled to speak to the U.S. president by telephone sometime during the night.

"Who am I to say that you should stop?" Duterte asked rhetorically. "But I would say this: 'Mr. President, please see to it that there is no war because my region will suffer.'"

Trump told Reuters in an Oval Office interview on Thursday that a major conflict with North Korea could breakout, though the president said he prefers a diplomatic solution. "There's a chance we could end up having a major, major conflict with North Korea," Trump said.

As the "more responsible country who wields the biggest stick," Duterte said the U.S. should be prudent and patient in dealing with North Korea and its leader, Kim Jong Un, who has been rattling Northeast Asia with repeated missile and nuclear detonation tests.

At least some of the tests appear to be timed to answer joint U.S.-South Korean military drills. "We know that they are playing with somebody who relishes letting go of his missiles and everything," Duterte said. "The guy simply wants to end the world."

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations, through a chairman's statement, is widely expected to express "grave concerns" over developments on the Korean Peninsula, particularly in regard to the North's nuclear and missile testing.

Another failed test-firing of a missile earlier this month prompted the regional bloc to issue a statement on April 17 expressing concern.

According to a leaked draft statement before the summit, ASEAN has called on North Korea to stop all actions violating its obligations under U.N. Security Council resolutions. The regional grouping has also reiterated its full support of denuclearizing the peninsula.

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