Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said North Korea’s planned rocket launch will not bring any nuclear weapon, but expressed hope that it will not push through so other countries will not get “involved.”

“We hope that there will be none, no violation, so there will be no involvement of the parties,” Gazmin told reporters Thursday, after presiding over a forum on preparations for the Holy Week.

The defense chief made the remark when asked whether the US will shoot the rocket down for the Philippines, whose lack of capability has already made it seek the former’s assistance in tracking the projectile.

Japan had already announced that it was readying its forces to stop the rocket, should it pass over Japanese territory.

Meanwhile, Gazmin said local experts determined that the rocket launch will not involve any nuclear weapon so the Philippines’ main concern is the debris that may fall in its territory.

“There will be no nuclear warhead involved in this particular launch, so it’s more on the diplomatic ambit. The concern is that the long-range rocket may carry nuclear weapons in the future,” Department of Science and Technology spokesman Mon Liboro said in the forum, citing information from the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute.

“Ang kalaban natin dito ‘yung debris, pagka ito ay nag-explode sa taas, ‘yung mga bakal-bakal na ‘yan na babagsak, tinitingnan natin kung san dadaan at kung sino ang tatamaan para ma-warningan natin,” Gazmin said.

“Ang projection is that the debris will land somewhere, 180 kilometers northeast of Luzon, if the launching is successful. Pero kung hindi successful baka sumobra, baka pumasok sa ating territory,” he said.

Gazmin said he will also contact South Korea later Thursday to get more information on the North’s planned launch.

The rocket launch, which North Korea said is only aimed at sending a satellite to space, is expected to happen between April 12 to 16. (John Roson)

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