MANILA, Philippines — The Duterte administration will pursue the country’s friendly bilateral relations with Malaysia.
This was the response of Malacañang after Malaysia announced its intention to summon the Philippine’s ambassador in Malaysia over the controversial remarks of Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Locsin.
On July 27, Locsin posted in his tweet that “Sabah is not in Malaysia” in reaction to a post by the U.S. Embassy in Manila.
Sabah is not in Malaysia if you want to have anything to do with the Philippines. https://t.co/dWZs1gsndE— Teddy Locsin Jr. (@teddyboylocsin) July 27, 2020
Malaysian Minister of Foreign Affairs Hisshammudin Hussein countered Locsin saying his comment was ‘irresponsible’, whereafter he summoned the Philippine ambassador.
Locsin stressed that he is asserting the Philippines’ rights over Sabah just as the country is defending and asserting the rights of the Filipinos in the West Philippine Sea.
You summoned our ambassador for a historically factual statement I made: that Malaysia tried to derail the Arbitral Award. This was reported to us by our diplomats on the scene and our German lawyer. None may share our Hague victory who worked against it. https://t.co/BzmWvE5NGQ— Teddy Locsin Jr. (@teddyboylocsin) July 29, 2020
Locsin replied that he will also summon the Malaysian ambassador in Manila on the matter.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque meanwhile said that despite the unresolved territorial dispute on Sabah, the country will maintain friendly bilateral relations with its Southeast Asian neighbor.
“This unresolved territorial dispute, as you correctly said has been dormant […] It has not affected our friendly bilateral relations and we will definitely maintain this friendly bilateral relations despite and in spite of this unresolved dispute,” he said. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)
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