Aquino: Chinese insults show Philippines is right: Philippine President Benigno Aquino on Friday brushed off a barrage of insults from China in response to him comparing Chinese rulers to Hitler, as the two sides continued to trade angry accusations over a territorial dispute.
On Tuesday Aquino compared China’s efforts to seize disputed parts of the South China Sea to Nazi Germany’s actions leading up to World War II, and called on world leaders not to make the same mistake of appeasement.
The Chinese state-run Xinhua news agency published a strongly-worded commentary on Wednesday, calling Aquino “amateurish”, “ignorant” and lame.”
When asked for a response to the Chinese commentary, Aquino said “Well, I thank Xinhua because they are re-affirming the validity of our position. As the saying goes, if someone cannot answer an issue, then he resorts to name-calling”.
“If you are intentionally insulting me, I thank you because it shows the Philippine position is correct.”
Meanwhile, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei on Friday insisted that comparing China’s actions to those of Adolf Hitler were “inconceivable and unreasonable”, according to reports.
“China is strongly dissatisfied with the relevant remark. We hope that the Philippine side will correct its mistake,” he said during a press briefing.
China claims sovereign rights over almost all of the South China Sea, including waters approaching the coasts of neighbouring countries and as far south as Borneo.
Other countries also claim parts of the sea, including the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, and Taiwan. The ongoing territorial disputes have made the waters a potential trigger for military conflict for decades.
China has built up its naval and coast guard presence in the sea in recent years, leading to Philippine complaints of Chinese bullying.
Last year the Philippines asked a United Nations tribunal to rule if the Chinese claim to the South China Sea was invalid. China has refused to participate in the UN process.