Locsin to talk to ‘top of US State Department soon’ over Sabah issue
MANILA, Philippines — Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. disclosed Thursday that he will be speaking with the US State Department “soon” after its embassy in Manila referred to Sabah as part of Malaysia in a recent tweet.
This comes a few days after he called out the embassy over its tweet, which stated that Sabah is part of Malaysia. The embassy has yet to respond to requests of reporters for its comment on the issue.
“I’ll be talking to the top of the US State Department soon,” Locsin wrote on Twitter.
On July 27, the US Embassy in Manila announced in a tweet the donation of hygiene kits by USAID to Region 9 authorities “for use by returning Filipino repatriates from Sabah, Malaysia.”
Locsin refuted this by asserting also in a tweet tagging the US Embassy in Manila’s tweet-post that “Sabah is not in Malaysia if you want to have anything to do with the Philippines.”
But such remark of Locsin did not sit well with Malaysian Foreign Minister Hishammuddin Hussein.
Hishammuddin earlier said his government will summon Philippine Ambassador to Malaysia Charles Jose and branded Locsin’s pronouncement as “irresponsible” and “affects bilateral ties.”
In apparent retaliation, Locsin said he would be “summoning” Malaysia’s envoy to the Philippines.
The Philippines has a long-standing claim over the northern part of Borneo – since the term of President Diosdado Macapagal.
The claim stems from assertions that the Sultanate of Sulu rightfully owns the northern part of Sabah, as several historians believe the former Sultan of Sulu was gifted with the land in exchange for helping the Sultan of Brunei defeat his adversaries.
However, Malaysia insists that the land, then occupied by the British empire, was rightfully ceded to them as Spain transferred part of the property of the Sultanate of Sulu to the British under the Madrid Protocol in the 1880s.
Currently, Malaysia has control over the said portion of the land.
Recently, Malacañang insisted that the Philippines had a claim on the resource-rich region despite Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad saying that the Philippines has no claim in the area.
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