By Audrey Morallo
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines is not keen on expelling North Korea from a regional security forum, bucking the call of its traditional ally the US for Pyongyang to be further isolated on the international stage.
The Philippines' Department of Foreign Affairs said that the ASEAN Regional Forum was the only venue where the international community, including Southeast Asian countries, could tell North Korea its concerns over its missile tests and nuclear program.
The ARF is also the only venue, aside from the United Nations, where North Korea, South Korea, Japan, China, Russia, the US, the European Union and ASEAN are at the same table to discuss regional security issues, according to DFA spokesperson Robespierre Bolivar.
"The ARF is a forum. We do not have expulsion provisions just like Article 50 of the European Union," the DFA spokesperson said, essentially rejecting calls from the US to remove North Korea from the regional security forum to be held in Manila on Monday.
He added that it was for the North Koreans to determine if they would leave the ARF which, Bolivar said, does not have "hard and fast rules" on members’ exits.
On Monday, it was reported that American diplomats were seeking ways to exclude North Korea from the ARF, which has conflict-free provisions and groups the US, North Korea and 25 other states.
Read the full story at PhilStar