President Benigno Aquino 3rd on Friday shrugged off a Chinese state media commentary calling him “ignorant” and an “amateurish politician.”
Speaking to reporters, Aquino defended his statements in an interview with The New York Times, wherein he likened the Philippines’ situation to that of Czechoslovakia’s during World War II.
The latter lost Sudetenland in 1938 to the demands of a much stronger Germany, because of what President Aquino reasoned was the West’s failure to support it.
Aquino was quoted by the Times 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 II.”
Xinhua writer Ming Jinwei called Aquino’s statement a “lame comparison” and said the President continues to “create animosity with China.”
Aquino, however, brushed aside the statement and instead thanked the writer for calling him names, saying that bolstered the Philippine stance on its territorial claim against China.
He also said that it shows that China does not have sound basis for its claim over the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea.)
”Nagpapasalamat nalang ako sa Xinhua dahil ang sabi nga parang nire-reaffirm iyong validity nung ating mga posisyon. May kasabihan na kapag hindi mo kayang sagutin iyong isyu e mag-name calling ka nalang [I am grateful to Xinhua because they somehow re-affirmed the validity of our position. There’s saying that if you can’t answer the issue, you resort to name-calling],” the President said.
”So kung maganda ang kanilan mga dahilan na sumusuporta sa kanilang posisyon, palagay ko, kung ako sila, iyon ang gagamitin ko. Pero kung mauuwi nalang tayo sa pagtatawag ng, di ba, iyong pang-i-insulto, e parang hindi mo mapanindigan iyong inyong binitawang unang salita,” he said.
”Kung sinasadya niyang insultuhin ako, thank you sa iyo dahil [ipinakita]mo na tama ang posisyon ng Pilipinas,” Aquino added
Meanwhile, the President welcomed the statement made by US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Russel expressing concern over China’s nine-dash line claim over the West Philippine Sea.
He said this call urged China to abide by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of which China is a signatory.
”Walang namilit na maging signatory ka diyan. China and the Philippines are signatories to the same. And we are hoping that we all live up to the commitments expressed in treaty such as that,” Aquino added.
According to reports, Russel challenged Beijing’s so-called “nine-dash line” that outlines its territorial claims over much of the South China Sea.
Russel said that maritime claims under international law needed to be based on land features.
Aquino’s Hitler remark fuels tension vs. China — analyst
President 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 Prof. 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.”
Rep. Antonio Tinio of ACT Teachers’ party-list 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 US 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 Rep. Neri Colmenares of Bayan Muna 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 US intervention.