Pres. Benigno Aquino 3rd’s controversial comparison of China’s leaders to Adolf Hitler’s pre-World War II territorial aggression only worsened the tension over the West Philippine Sea, a political analyst said on Friday.
University of the Philippines Professor Roland Simbulan said that while China’s refusal to resolve the row through the United Nations is tantamount to ‘territorial piracy,’ such remark only fueled the conflict over the disputed territory and widened the gap among the two nations, especially in terms of economic aspect.
“Of course it fuels [the tension]especially with the temperature of our relationship with China. They would, too, take a hard line attitude against us,” Simbulan said in a text message to The Manila Times.
“We would also miss economic opportunities that we could have taken with the improvement of their economy.”
In an interview with The New York Times, Aquino urged world leaders not to make the mistake of pacifying China, which now strengthens and fortifies its authority over the contested waters of the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea.)
“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.
The remark drew an irate response from China’s foreign ministry, published through a commentary in Xinhua news agency, and called Aquino as “amateurish” and “ignorant.”
ACT Teachers’ Party-list Rep. Antonio Tinio echoed Simbulan’s sentiments and condemned the president’s “imprudent” remark as it “puts any diplomatic solution at risk.”
“Unfortunately, President Aquino’s superficial Hitler analogy could scuttle a diplomatic solution by foreclosing further rational discussion. There’s no room for Godwin’s Law in international diplomacy,” said Tinio, referring to the proverb that the first side to make an inappropriate analogy to Hitler in an argument loses.
He said the “reckless and extremist rhetoric” may backfire and make it more difficult to gain broader support for the Philippine position from the international community although he believed that this could be part of laying the ground for stronger U.S. hand in the region.
“His statements, made to an American as well as an international audience, are in fact laying the rhetorical ground work for strong US military intervention in the dispute,” ended Tinio.
Tinio, along with Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares and Carlos Zarate, filed House Resolution 671 urging the House Committee on Foreign Affairs to conduct an inquiry on China’s new sea rules and the heightening tensions on the West Philippine Sea to find peaceful and diplomatic solutions to the dispute without U.S. intervention.