Philippine president compares Chinese rulers to Hitler
February 06, 2014 - 7:38:07 am
MANILA: Philippine President Benigno Aquino has warned China’s efforts to claim disputed territories are like Nazi Germany’s before World War II, drawing a fierce Chinese response yesterday branding him ignorant and amateurish.
In an interview with the New York Times, Aquino called for world leaders not to make the mistake of appeasing China as it seeks to cement control over contested waters and islands in the strategically vital 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 told the New York Times in Manila on Tuesday.
Aquino was referring to the failure by Western nations to back Czechoslovakia when Adolf Hitler-led Nazi Germany occupied western parts of the European nation in 1938 before World War II.
Aquino’s comments come less than two weeks after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe raised the temperature in a parallel territorial dispute with China by appearing to compare Sino-Japanese relations with the run-up to World War I.
Japan and China are at loggerheads over the sovereignty of disputed islands in the East China Sea, raising fears about a military confrontation between Asia’s two biggest economies.
China also claims nearly all of the South China Sea, one of the world’s most important waterways as it is home to vital shipping lanes and is believed to sit atop lucrative deposits of natural resources.
But the Philippines, as well as Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and the Taiwan, have overlapping claims to some of the waters, and those disputes have for decades made the South China Sea another potential trigger for military conflict.
China has been steadily increasing its military and coast guard presence in the sea in recent years to assert its claim, causing diplomatic tensions to rise and stoking concerns in the Philippines about perceived Chinese bullying.