Conflicts & War

Political tensions rise between Malaysia, Philippines over territorial rift

Bangkok, Jul 30 (efe-epa).- Verbal exchanges between the Malaysian foreign minister and Philippine foreign affairs secretary have led to an escalation of political tension between the two countries amid their dispute over the sovereignty of the state of Sabah, which currently is a part of Malaysia claimed by the Philippines.

Malaysian Foreign Minister Hishamuddin Hussein said that he will summon the Philippine Ambassador in Kuala Lumpur on Monday in response to a comment by his Philippine counterpart, Teodoro Locsin.

“Sabah is not in Malaysia if you want to have anything to do with the Philippines,” Locsin tweeted in response to a post by the United States embassy in Manila in which it had referred to Sabah as a part of Malaysia.

Hussein said that, “this is an irresponsible statement that affects bilateral ties (…) Sabah is, and will always be, part of Malaysia.”

Both the countries have been involved in a territorial tension over Sabah which shares a maritime border with the Philippine province of Sulu and several islands of the Spratly archipelago in the South China sea.

Azzimudie, the younger brother of Sultan Jamalul Kiram III led more than 200 followers of Sultan Kiram III in eastern Sabah on Borneo Island in February 2013 to stake a claim on the lands that have been claimed by the sultan of the Philippine island of Sulu for a century.

The operation failed and Malaysian security forces regained control of the area three weeks after the occupation and several battles that left 78, mostly Filipinos, dead.

The Sulanate of Sulu, established in XV century, ceded Sabah to the British North Borneo Company in 1878 and the territory was incorporated in the Federation of Malaya in 1963 under a process supervised by the United Nations and without recognition by the Philippines and Indonesia. EFE-EPA

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