China media slams Philippine leader comments on disputed waters

SHANGHAI Wed Feb 5, 2014 10:34pm EST

Philippines' President Benigno Aquino answer questions during a Foreign Correspodents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP) forum at a hotel in Manila October 23, 2013. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco

Philippines' President Benigno Aquino answer questions during a Foreign Correspodents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP) forum at a hotel in Manila October 23, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Romeo Ranoco

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SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Chinese state media has slammed Philippine President Benigno Aquino over remarks that compared Beijing's claims in the disputed South China Sea to demands for land made by Nazi Germany to the former Czechoslovakia.

In an interview with The New York Times published on Tuesday, Aquino called for more global support for the Philippines over the territorial issue, comparing it to the failure by the West to support Czechoslovakia against Adolf Hitler's demand in 1938.

"If we say yes to something we believe is wrong now, what guarantee is there that the wrong will not be further exacerbated down the line?" the paper quoted him as saying.

"At what point do you say, 'Enough is enough'? Well, the world has to say it — remember that the Sudetenland was given in an attempt to appease Hitler to prevent World War Two."

China's official Xinhua news agency blasted Aquino's comments late on Wednesday, saying Beijing's claims in the South China Sea have a "sound historical foundation" and that it also seeks to resolve the issue through dialogue rather than confrontation.

"His latest reported attack against China, in which he senselessly compared his northern neighbor to the Nazi Germany, exposed his true color as an amateurish politician who was ignorant both of history and reality," it said in an English-language commentary.

"He also joined the ranks of disgraced Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who created great controversy after comparing Japan-China relations to those between the United Kingdom and Germany in the run-up to the First World War last month at the annual World Economic Forum in Switzerland," Xinhua said.

Such commentaries, while not official statements, can be read as a reflection of Chinese government thinking. China's Foreign Ministry has yet to comment on Aquino's remarks.

On Thursday, a spokesman for Aquino stood by the comments.

"The lesson for all free countries is this: there is a need for all to stand up for what is right," spokesman Herminio Coloma Jnr. said.

"It should be right is might and not might is right."

China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei all have territorial claims across a waterway that provides 10 percent of the global fisheries catch and carries $5 trillion in ship-borne trade.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Danny Russel said on Wednesday Washington has growing concerns that China's maritime claims in the disputed sea are an effort to gain creeping control of oceans in the Asia-Pacific region.

China reacted angrily last week to a report in a Japanese newspaper that Beijing was considering setting up a new air defense identification zone in the South China Sea, similar to the one it announced last year for the East China Sea.

The United States urged China not to set up such a zone, although China's Foreign Ministry implied it had no need to do so because it did not see a military threat from Southeast Asia.

Xinhua, in a separate commentary, said it was Japan that was the real regional threat, not China.

"It is high time for the Obama administration to see through Abe's political tricks and to cage the trigger-happy elements in Japan," Xinhua said.

(Reporting by Kazunori Takada; Additional reporting by Ben Blanchard in BEIJING and Manuel Mogato in MANILA; Editing by Paul Tait)

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Comments (4)
Free_Pacific wrote:
“…and that it also seeks to resolve the issue through dialogue rather than confrontation.”

Chinese Dialogue: “It’s ours, it’s ours!!”

Filipino Dialogue “Ahh… what?”

(Insert Chinese naval force here)

Chinese Dialogue “Look what you did, look what you did!!”

Filipino Dialogue “We will go to UNCLOS and prepare our case. Join us and present your evidence.”

Chinese Dialogue “Never!”

China’s reaction is always hostile, when faced with leaders who speak the truth. Especially when that truth highlights the lies, that the CCP has taught it’s own people as fact.

Feb 06, 2014 1:10am EST  --  Report as abuse
arnee wrote:
Ironically, China, an outlaw in the international law, has to call other leaders a disgrace. I thought, they have lost that privilege.

Feb 06, 2014 1:15am EST  --  Report as abuse
Kailim wrote:
Free_Pacific,

You always forgot what Vietnam has done to Spratly Islands by force and occupied how many islands and reefs claimed by the Phillipines and China. You better look into histories of these islands not just from the independence of the Phillipines. Don’t just promote hatred that cannot resolve any dispute.

Feb 06, 2014 6:06am EST  --  Report as abuse
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