Filipino group Bayan says U.S. bigger nuclear threat than North Korea

April 11, 2012 at 9:34 AM
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MANILA, Philippines, April 11 (UPI) -- The Filipino Bayan Party says that the United States is a bigger nuclear threat than North Korea.

In 2007 the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan -- Bayan -- leftist political party was the second most popular party in the Filipino elections. There are two Bayan representatives in the Congress of the Philippines.

"While safety precautions against rocket debris are OK, the reaction of the Philippine government is more in line with the hype being stirred by the U.S. in relation to so-called ballistic missile tests that the North Koreans are allegedly undertaking," Bayan Secretary-General Renato Reyes said in a release on the Bayan Web site.

"The U.S. is trying to deny North Korea's sovereign right to launch a satellite for peaceful use by hypocritically using the specter of nuclear weapons."

Reyes accused the administration of Filipino President Benigno Aquino III of overreacting to the North Korean rocket launch, citing the Pyongyang's consistent statements that the upcoming rocket launch is solely for "peaceful scientific use."

The North Korean government said it plans to launch a satellite to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of regime founder Kim Il Sung. Kim was born April 15, 1912.

Criticism against the launch says it would violate U.N. resolutions regarding missile tests by North Korea. Pyongyang says the satellite in question would help it with natural resource research.

"(North Korea) has even invited foreign journalists and observers to witness the launch and scrutinize the rocket," Reyes said. "North Korea has suspended its nuclear weapons test and uranium enrichment program and allowed international inspectors to monitor activities at its main nuclear complex."

In contrast, Reyes said the United States is the world biggest nuclear threat, possessing 5,100 nuclear warheads placed all over the world in submarines, missiles, aircraft and military bases.

The Philippine government reportedly sought Washington's assistance to monitor the launch with a joint Filipino-U.S. military exercise having been scheduled for April 16.

Reyes maintains that Manila's professed concern over the North Korean launch is, in fact, designed solely to justify a continued U.S. military presence in the Philippines.

Further underlining the discrepancies between North Korea's nuclear policies and those of the United States, Reyes quoted from a declassified document from the National Security Archive, a non-governmental organization in Washington, that the U.S. government had reportedly secretly stored nuclear weapons in the Philippines during the administration of former President Ferdinand Marcos.

"The Philippine government has not even sought any explanation for the U.S. government's secret storage of nuclear weapons in the Philippines during the last century," Reyes said.

Political activist Leandro Alejandro and former Sen. Lorenzo Tanada founded Bayan in May 1985 during the Ferdinand Marcos dictatorship. The Bayan Party coalition united more than1,000 grassroots and progressive organizations, representing in total more than 1 million people, largely "national democratic" groups aligned with the Communist Party of the Philippines, the party says.

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