A military commander of the United States Pacific Command expressed concerns Wednesday about the intercontinental ballistic missiles possessed by North Korea.
Manila-based national dailies reported Admiral Harry Harris, Jr. made the statement when he paid a courtesy call to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte Wednesday afternoon in Malacañang.
Citing a video provided by the Malacañang Press Corps pool to reporters, Manila Times quoted Harris as saying "I am worried (about the North Korean missiles)... I just came from there."
But Duterte, according to the reports, responded to the admiral's statement by saying that China, "has the greatest leverage over North Korea."
Duterte and his top cabinet secretaries from foreign affairs, defense, and national security received Harris, who was accompanied by US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim.
During Wednesday's meeting, Duterte and Harris mainly discussed regional security, particularly North Korea's nuclear threat.
The President underscored the role of China, North Korea's largest trading partner, in ending the crisis on the Korean Peninsula, according to Philippine Star.
On Wednesday, Beijing was reportedly calling on Washington to immediately withdraw the sanctions on 10 companies and individuals trading with North Korea in ways that advanced the country's missile and nuclear weapons program.
China's Foreign Ministry insisted its government had fully implemented the UN Security Council resolutions on North Korea, and would punish anyone caught violating the Security Council sanctions under Chinese law.
It opposed sanctions outside the framework of the Security Council, calling the US sanctions an exercise of "long-arm jurisdiction" which is a "wrongful practice."