Foreign Affairs Sec-retary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said he would summon the Malaysian Ambassador to the Philippines following a Twitter spat with Foreign Minister Hishammuddin Hussein over Sabah.
In a series of tweets, the Filipino top diplomat stressed that Manila would never abandon its claim over the territory.
“No country can tell another what it can and cannot say about what the latter regards as rightfully its own. I don’t insist China say only what we want to hear about the Arbitral Award. It is free to say what it wants while we say and do what needs doing. That holds for Sabah,” he said.
The Twitter spat was sparked by a July 27 tweet posted at the United States Embassy in Manila page, which tagged Sabah as part of Malaysia.
Locsin berated the embassy and quote-retweeted the content, saying: “Sabah is not in Malaysia if you want to have anything to do with the Philippines.”
On Wednesday night, Hussein responded by calling Locsin’s remarks as “irresponsible” while underscoring that “Sabah is, and will always be, part of Malaysia” and that Philippine Ambassador to Kuala Lumpur Charles Jose will be summoned on Monday over the issue.
In a prior tweet, Locsin said Manila continues to assert its claims on Sabah as it does with its rights in the West Philippine Sea. “There have been repeated attempts to sell that claim but to no Philippine president has succumbed.”
With the Philippines’ firm position on Sabah, the top diplomat noted that Manila’s envoy being summoned “was bound to happen”.
“They are always trying to sneak in an attempt to implicitly abandon our claim. But I warned our diplomats. Never,” he said.