DFA: PH ‘gravely concerned’ over North Korea bomb test

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The Foreign Affairs Department raised concerns over North Korea claims to have successfully tested a hydrogen bomb Sunday. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 3) — The Foreign Affairs Department expressed their ‘grave concern’ over North Korea’s detonation of a hydrogen bomb Sunday.

In a statement, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Cayetano said such provocative action from North Korea will undermine regional stability.

"Aside from flouting all of its commitments under relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions, this test limits our available options for meaningful dialogue to address the real issues confronting the Korean Peninsula," Cayetano said.

Cayetano served as chairman of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting last August, where the ten member countries also voiced out their concerns over the continuing nuclear activities in the isolationist state.

Read more: North Korea to remain in ASEAN Regional Forum

"The Philippines urges (North Korea) to return to the negotiating table. ASEAN is ready to play a role in creating diplomatic space to effect meaningful dialogue," Cayetano added.

The Foreign Affairs Department said they have also instructed the Philippine Embassy in Seoul to inform approximately 65,000 Filipinos living and working in South Korea of contingency plans in hand “in case the situation further escalates.”

Earlier, the rogue state claimed to have successfully tested a hydrogen bomb, a device that is several times more powerful than an atomic bomb. This was North Korea’s sixth test of a nuclear weapon, following two successful tests of an intercontinental ballistic missile in July and another one in August.

Read more: North Korea confirms sixth nuclear test

Last week, tensions arose between North Korea and the international community after Pyongyang flew a missile over Japan. This added to the growing levels of international unease.

However, during the ASEAN Foreign Minister’s Meeting, North Korea claimed it will be a responsible nuclear power, and will pose no other threats to other countries, unless they work alongside the United States.

The U.S. has been conducting military exercises with South Korea in waters surrounding the Korean peninsula amid the raised nuclear threats.