THE Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Thursday said that appeasing China will not stop it from claiming areas beyond what is allowed under international laws.
Raul Hernandez, DFA spokesman, said “expansionism in the form of the nine-dash-line in the West Philippine Sea [South China Sea] is in gross violation of the rule of law and threatens peace and stability.”
“We should learn from history that appeasement does not halt expansionism,” he said. “This expansionism is being driven by might and not what is right.”
The nine-dash-line can be found even on ancient Chinese maps.
“To prevent the mistakes of the past, the entire international community should unite in upholding the rule of law,” Hernandez said.
Because China is also claiming islands and waters that are already within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ), Manila turned to the International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea (Itlos) to seek the invalidation of the nine-dash line rule.
Malacañang on Thursday downplayed Chinese state media’s statement calling President Benigno Aquino 3rd “ignorant” and “amateurish for his remarks comparing China’s leaders to Adolf Hitler.
Presidential Communications Herminio Coloma Jr. said newspapers are “free to give their own comments,” but the Philippine government “will just remain focused on achieving what is best for our national interests.”
“We will not be swayed or distracted by a commentary that is not fully aligned with our own position,” Coloma told reporters.
The President, he said, wanted other nations “to acknowledge the lessons from history and to achieve a certain amount of solidarity in order to ensure that the principles of the rule of law will be upheld.”
In an interview with the New York Times Tuesday, Aquino said China’s claims in the West Philippine Sea was like Hitler’s occupation of Czechoslovakia just before World War II.
“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 his commentary, Xinhua writer Ming Jinwei called Aquino’s statement a “lame comparison” and said the President continues to “create animosity with China.”
“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,” Jinwei said.
“Territorial disputes are always sensitive issues. No one expects them to be resolved overnight. Thus it is important for political leaders to sound rational and reasonable when they address them,” he added.
Coloma said the Aquino has the “right to express his views” to journalists who interview him.
He added there had been “developments” since the Philippines took a “very determined” stance in defending its territories. He cited the willingness of members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) “to flesh out the document on the Code of Conduct on the Law of the Sea, which have been lying dormant for more than a decade.”
“We have also seen the acceptance by member-countries of the need for an Asean-centric position, and the clearest manifestation was made in the joint statement following the Asean-Japan Summit in December—this was the document that they released after meeting in Tokyo in December 2013—where they expressed solidarity on the principles of freedom of navigation, freedom of aviation, and promoting the rule of law,” he said
“So I think, all things considered, our advocacy of rules-based approach and respect for the rule of law has gained credence, and has gained support from the region, and has also been affirmed by other countries such as the US and Japan that are not members of Asean,” Coloma said.