The aggression of Kim Jong-un and the very real possibility that a major, possibly nuclear, war could break out any time the idea popped into his perverse and twisted little mind is a serious concern for the nations in the region, whose leaders are gathered in Manila for the annual Association of South East Asian Nations summit.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who is hosting this year’s event, on Saturday urged the United States to show restraint, following North Korea’s latest missile test, cautioning the US not to play into the hands of the madman who “wants to end the world.”
President Duterte expressed the concerns of the attendees, saying those in the Southeast Asia region are extremely worried about the tensions between the US and North Korea. He warned that one misstep would be a “catastrophe” and that Asia would be the first victim if nuclear war were to break out. He noted the United States, Japan, South Korea and China were sparring with a man who was excited at the prospect of firing missiles. Duterte, in his role as chairman of the ASEAN would be speaking with President Trump by phone later in the day and was expected to express those sentiments directly. President Trump did call Duterte after the ASEAN gala dinner, at approximately 11pm Manila time.
In describing the volatile situation in a news conference following the summit, Duterte said, “There seems to be two countries playing with their toys and those toys are not really to entertain.” He said, “You know that they are playing with somebody who relishes letting go of missiles and everything. I would not want to go into his (Kim’s) mind because I really do not know what’s inside but he’s putting mother earth, the planet to an edge.”
On Saturday, shortly after being warned by US Secretary of State Tillerson that a failure to curb their nuclear and ballistic missile programs could lead to “catastrophic consequences,” Kim fired another taunting missile, his fourth dud in a row since March. He’s not just a madman, he’s an increasingly frustrated and humiliated madman, which makes him even more dangerous.
Duterte urged restraint, saying, as the responsible and sane nation, it was the United States’ place not to reward Kim’s provocations by taking the bait. He said he was sure President Trump had instructed his military not to allow the situation to get out of hand.
Duterte added, “Who am I to say that you should stop? But I would say ‘Mr. President, please see to it that there is no war because my region will suffer immensely. I will just communicate to (Trump), ‘just let him play… do not play into his hands’. The guy [Kim] simply wants to end the world, that is why he is very happy. He is always smiling. But he really wants to finish everything and he wants to drag us all down.”
Specific information as to the content of the phone conversation has not been made available to the public.
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