MANILA – The Philippines has called for sobriety amid brewing tensions in the Korean Peninsula where more than 40,000 Filipinos are based.
On Thursday afternoon, North Korea and South Korea traded artillery over their heavily fortified border, raising concerns of military conflict in the area. No casualties were reported.
“The Philippines is closely monitoring the developing situation on the Korean Peninsula after the reported exchange of fire between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea,” a Department of Foreign Affairs statement said.
If tensions in the Korean Peninsula escalate, it will be the latest potential crisis involving overseas Filipinos workers to be dealt with by the Philippine government in recent years following the violence and unrest in Libya, Iraq and Syria.
Around 43,000 Filipinos are living and working in South Korea.
“The Philippines urges restraint on both sides and calls for the immediate deescalation of tensions in order to maintain regional peace and stability,” the DFA said.
As a policy, all Philippine embassies and consulates general have a contingency plan designed to ensure the safety of overseas Filipinos in case of emergency situations such as disaster, war or civil unrest.
The contingency plan is regularly reviewed and updated and considers several options for evacuation if needed.