Duterte warns military conflict with North Korea will ‘end humanity’

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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday warned of the dire consequences that will result from a military conflict with North Korea.

“We cannot start a war with the North Korean crisis looming ahead,” he said while speaking at a summit in Manila. “There are dark clouds there. We better pray.” 

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“If all of those missiles and the (intercontinental ballistic missiles) would explode, that would mean the end of humanity…The destruction, it would be the end of everything,” Duterte continued.

His words came as President Donald Trump's 12-day trip to Asia came to a close. The looming tensions with North Korea dominated much of the president's focus and rhetoric during his trip, including an address to South Korea’s National Assembly. 

During the speech, Trump addressed tensions with North Korea at length, calling the nation, "a hell that no person deserves," and a "military cult" fueled by, "a deranged belief in the leader’s destiny to rule as parent-protector over a conquered Korean Peninsula and an enslaved Korean people."

Trump also attempted to make an unscheduled visit to the DMZ -- the demilitarized zone on the border between North and South Korea -- but he was forced to abandon the attempt due to foggy weather. 

Trump’s visit to South Korea also included the start of, “a rare joint naval exercise involving three US aircraft carriers in what military officials said was a clear warning to Pyongyang," according to The Independent.

North Korea appears to have interpreted it as such, with its state media, KCNA, describing the effort as, “extremely risky,” and asserting the U.S., “is now driving the peninsula situation to the worst phase of nuclear war.” 

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