Beijing slams Benigno Aquino for ‘ignorant’ Nazi Germany comparisons
Philippines president branded 'amateurish' and 'ignorant' over territorial dispute comparisons
Beijing launched a scathing attack on Benigno Aquino after the Philippine president compared China with Nazi Germany in staking claims to disputed territory in the South China Sea.
A commentary by Xinhua described his remarks on China's handling of the territorial dispute as senseless and said it had "exposed his true colours as an amateurish politician who was ignorant both of history and reality".
"Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino III, who has taken an inflammatory approach ... has never been a great candidate for a wise statesman in the region," it said.
Aquino told The New York Times he wanted world leaders to support the Philippines in resisting China's assertive claims over the South China Sea, drawing a comparison to the West's failure to support Czechoslovakia against Adolf Hitler's demands for Czech land in 1938.
Aquino said he saw some parallels as Manila was now facing a challenge to surrender territory piecemeal to a much stronger foreign power, and world leaders should not make the mistake of appeasing China in disputes.
"If we say yes to something we believe is wrong now, what guarantee is there that the wrong will not be further exacerbated down the line?" he said. "At what point do you say, 'Enough is enough?' Well, the world has to say it."
Last month, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe compared the Japan-China relationship to Britain and Germany's ties in the run-up to the first world war.
Xinhua criticised Aquino for joining the ranks of "disgraced" Abe and wasting the chance of improved ties after China sent aid in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan.
Yesterday, Aquino's spokesman Sonny Coloma insisted he was merely citing historical fact and did not aim to offend China.
"As a storyteller ... the president often gives details of a particular situation, so it could have happened that he was simply citing the fact that there was such incident," Coloma said, adding that there were "antecedents" during the New York Times interview that "would logically lead" to Aquino's Hitler citation.