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Will the Philippines risk war with Malaysia over Sabah?

Manila's bombast more likely an attempt to deflect claims that it's weak on China

| Philippines
Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., pictured on Feb. 20: the Philippines' exact motivations are far from certain.   © AP

Richard Heydarian is an Asia-based academic, columnist and author of "The Rise of Duterte: A Populist Revolt Against Elite Democracy" and the "The Indo-Pacific: Trump, China and the New Struggle for Global Mastery."

Listening to Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. dial up the rhetoric this week over who owns the Malaysian state of Sabah, you could be forgiven for thinking that Manila is preparing to go to war for the oil-rich territory.

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