Philippine President compares China’s rulers to Hitler: Philippine President Benigno Aquino likened China’s efforts to claim disputed territories to that of Nazi Germany’s Adolf Hitler prior to World War II, and called on world leaders not to make the mistake of appeasing China, in an interview with the New York Times.
Aquino’s comments drew an angry response from China’s state-run news agency on Wednesday, which called him “ignorant and amateurish”.
In the New York Times interview the Philippine president urged world leaders not to appease China, as it did Hitler, as China attempts to cement control over disputed waters and islands in the strategically important South China Sea, according to reports.
“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 II,” Aquino said in the New York Times interview in Manila on Tuesday.
The Philippine president was referring to Western leaders’ failure to support democratic Czechoslovakia when Hitler was threatening to occupy its western region in 1938, and gave Hitler the Sudetenland in hopes of preventing a war.
China claims almost all of the South China Sea – which contains vital shipping lanes and is believed to have lucrative deposits of natural resources.
The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, and Taiwan all have overlapping claims to some of the waters of the South China Sea, making the area a potential trigger for military conflict for decades.
China has been increasing its military and coast guard presence in the region in recent years, raising diplomatic tensions and Philippine perceptions of Chinese bullying.
The Philippine government accuses China of using its ships to effectively occupy the rich fishing area called the Scarborough Shoal, which is just 220 kilometers (135 miles) from the Philippines’ main island, but 650 kilometers from the nearest Chinese land mass.
The Philippines last year asked a United Nations tribunal to rule China’s claim to the South China Sea as invalid. China has refused to participate in the UN process.
A commentary in China’s state-run Xinhua news agency said, “Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino III, who has taken an inflammatory approach while dealing with maritime disputes with China, has never been a great candidate for a wise statesman in the region”.
“But his latest reported attack against China, in which he senselessly compared his northern neighbour to the Nazi Germany, exposed his true colours as an amateurish politician who was ignorant both of history and reality.”
The commentary insisted China’s claims to the South China Sea were legitimate.