Unlike Its Dispute With China, Philippines Will Take Up Its Claim Over Sabah

As the Philippines moves forward to take up its Sabah claim, China continues to intimidate its neighbours in and around the South China Sea.

A U.S. Navy MH-60R Seahawk conducts flights operations in the Philippine Sea to continue reinforcing a free and open Indo-Pacific region. U.S. Navy
The Subic Bay Times
September 16, 2020

The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (D.F.A.) announced it will once again reactivate its North Borneo Bureau, to step up in the country's efforts to tackle its touchy claim over Sabah. Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said that the rest of the world has forgotten the Philippines' claim over Sabah. "The rest of the world has forgotten our Sabah claim, casually designating it as another country's territory when we have not forgotten." During the D.F.A.'s budget hearing at the House of Representatives, Mr. Locsin gave the update on September 15, saying the country's honor is involved. "While we fiercely guard our waters, we are not forgetting our terrestrial domain. In pursuit of securing what is ours, I have decided to reactivate the North Borneo Bureau after realizing that the rest of the world has forgotten our Sabah claim, casually designating it as another country's territory when we have not forgotten it," Mr. Locsin said. Sabah, a land known for rich resources just like the waters of the West Philippine Sea, is a territory occupied by a neighbouring nation but claimed by the Philippines as part of the country's Exclusive Economic Zone (E.E.Z.). Meanwhile, despite the false accusations of the Communist Party of China, the United States remains to take control of the disputed South China Sea. China, earlier this month said that the U.S. is the biggest threat in the disputed region. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte downpltsayed China's aggression in the West Philippine Sea early September. The President has chosen to push for investment projects in the Philippines fueled by the Communist Party of China. One of the investment projects is the development of Sangley Airport in Cavite. The project will be built by a Chinese firm who is also creating artificial islands in the West Philippine Sea. The People's Liberation Army (P.L.A.) deployed warships, armaments and other weaponry on those islands. The U.S. Embassy in the Philippines said that "the United States stands alongside the Philippines and other Southeast Asian partners to uphold a rules-based order that ensures sovereign, sustainable, and productive access to the South China Sea and its resources." U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo explained that the United States rejects any People's Republic of China (P.R.C.) maritime claims within the Philippine's Exclusive Economic Zone or continental shelf, and claims in waters beyond 12 nautical miles from the islands in the Spratlys. "Beijing's harassment of Philippine fisheries and offshore energy development within those areas is unlawful, as are any unilateral P.R.C. actions to exploit those resources."


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