'We have not forgotten,' Locsin eyes revival of bureau to remind the world of PH's Sabah claim

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 15) Foreign Affairs Sec. Teodoro Locsin, Jr. said he is looking into reopening the department's bureau that will remind the world of the country's claim and mainly focus on handling issues related to Sabah.

During the House of Representatives budget hearing for the department's 2021 budget, Locsin said he has decided to revive the North Borneo Affairs office after realizing that the world has seemed to forgot the Philippines' claim over Sabah.

"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," he said.

"This is one of several international disagreements we can afford to conduct in our best interest without any risk of loss of any kind for our country," he added.

The North Borneo Affairs office, which has been inactive for years now, mainly deals with the country's claim over Sabah.

A statement from the US Embassy recently triggered the dispute over Sabah claims after they referred to the area as "Sabah, Malaysia."

Both the Philippines and Malaysia summoned each other's envoy regarding the issue.

Locsin has also stood his ground that the country will not abandon territorial claims over Sabah despite financial offers.

Since 1963, Malaysia has considered Sabah its territory after it joined the Malaysian Federation. On the other hand, Manila points out that Sabah was only on lease to Malaysia by the Sultanate of Sulu, who signed a lease agreement with a now defunct private firm on January 22, 1878.

READ: ‘Don’t even dream of it’: Foreign Affairs chief unfazed by alleged financial offers to drop Sabah claim