MANILA, Philippines – The Department of National Defense (DND) found a reason to push for the upgrade of military equipment and other capabilities as part of its responsibility “to protect our country” in the light of North Korea’s failed rocket launch.
“North Korea will not stop in its experiments until a successful launch is achieved despite protests from the international community,” Dr Peter Paul Ruben Galvez, DND spokesman said in a press conference Friday.
“It is of our view that it is imperative that our government seriously consider upgrading and modernizing our forces, particularly our air defense capabilities, so that we are not solely dependent on our allies and other friends to protect our country and of course all of us,” Galvez said.
North Korea launched its rocket at about 6:50 a.m. (Philippine time), according to National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) executive director Benito Ramos.
The rocket flew for a few minutes before breaking into several pieces and crashing into the Yellow Sea just west of the Korean Peninsula, South Korea and Japan said in separate statements.
Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin confirmed in a statement that “the North Korean rocket launch has failed to complete its intended flight and fallen [into] the sea west of Korea. This location is far from the Philippines,” he said.
“We reiterate our call to the North Koreans to abide by the United Nations resolutions, turn away from exploring further ballistic missile experimentation and fully cooperate with the rest of the world,” Gazmin said.
Galvez said that they would proceed with the modernization in a “building block approach.”
“What we wish to happen is [to] fast track this and initially gain certain capabilities [even if] limited but get there as soon as possible,” he said.
Galvez said that they are studying many possibilities for air defense upgrade, “there could be surface-to-air [missile and] air-to-air [missile] capability. We’ll consider all those available in the market,” Galvez said.
Galvez believes that North Korea may continue with further rocket launches, “that’s why we continuously call on the North Koreans to abide by and cooperate with the community of nations and abide by United Nations’ resolutions.