Malaysian PM Mahathir to visit Philippines this week

MANILA, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad is set to make an official state visit to the Philippines on March 6-7, MalacaAang said on Monday.

Upon the invitation of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, Tun Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad, Prime Minister of Malaysia, will undertake an official visit to the Philippines from March 6 to 7, 2019, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a Palace briefing.

Panelo said the 93-year-old Mahathir's state visit will reciprocate the visit of President Rodrigo R. Duterte to Malaysia in July 2018.

To recall, Duterte also went there to watch the world-title fight of boxer-senator Manny Pacquiao against Argentina's Lucas Matthysse at the Axiata Arena, Kuala Lumpur.

Pacquiao knocked out Matthysse in the seventh round to claim the WBA welterweight title.

Panelo said Duterte and Mahathir will hold a bilateral meeting and discuss cooperation in the political, economic and people-to-people spheres, and exchange views on topics of mutual importance.

Asked if the Philippines' claim on Sabah would be among the topics discussed by the two leaders, Panelo said that it was a possibility.

Everything is possible when you meet a head of state, every issue is open, Panelo said.

Sabah, or the North Borneo, has been in dispute by the two countries since the 1870s.

The territory was originally ceded by the Kingdom of Brunei to the Sultanate of Sulu, but residents there voted to become part of Malaysia when it became independent from Great Britain in 1963.

According to Panelo, this is Mahathir's first visit to the Philippines since he assumed his position as the seventh Prime Minister of Malaysia in 2018.

Mahathir also undertook bilateral official visits in 1987 and 1994 during his previous term as Prime Minister.

Source: NAM News Network

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