China on Friday reminded President Aquino it had fought on the side of the Allied Powers against fascist Japan and Germany in World War II, after Aquino likened China’s encroachment into the South China Sea with Adolf Hitler’s hegemonic moves in World War II.
The Allied leaders of the Asian and Pacific Theater Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Winston Churchill meeting at the Cairo Conference in 1943
In a press briefing, China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei said, “As an unwavering upholder of international justice, China made huge sacrifice and indelible historical contribution to the victory of the World Anti-Fascist War. It is inconceivable and unreasonable to place China-Philippines South China Sea disputes in the same category with the WWII history.”
In an interview with New York Times Tuesday, Aquino had called on the international community to support the Philippine position of resisting China’s hegemonic moves in the South China Sea and not to make the mistake of appeasing the Asian superpower.
The Philippines and China have overlapping claims over areas in the South China Sea together with Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan.
"At what point do you say: 'Enough is enough'? Aquino asked? '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, who prides himself on being a war history buff, told the New York Times in an interview in Manila.
Aquino’s remarks revived memories of the failure by Western nations to back Czechoslovakia when Adolf Hitler-led Nazi Germany occupied western parts of the European nation in 1938 ahead of World War II. Sudentenland was the region given over to Germany to appease Hitler.
Hong also said China was “shocked at and dissatisfied” with Aquino’s statement, calling his comparison of the South China Sea territorial dispute to Sudetenland as “inconceivable and “unreasonable.”
Germany was joined by Italy and Japan to form the Axis power against WWII Allies composed of Great Britain, United States, Russia, France, Poland, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Newfoundland, South Africa, China, Canada, British Raj (India), the Netherlands, Norway and Yugoslavia.
A Xinhua News Agency commentator Ming Jinwei called Aquino “an amateurish politician who was ignorant both of history and reality.”
He also said Aquino “has never been a great candidate for a wise statesman in the region.”
Aquino Friday responded to the Xin Hua commentator by thanking him in Filipino for “reaffirming the validity of our position.”
He said, “There is a saying that if you can’t answer the issue, you resort to name-calling.”
The Philippines has asked the United Nations Arbitral Tribunal to declare as illegal China’s 9-dash line map, which claims almost 80 per cent of the whole South China Sea as Chinese territory.
The full statement of the Chinese Foreign Ministry:
Q: In a recent interview, the Philippine President Benigno Aquino III reportedly compared the Philippines which is in territorial disputes with China to pre-WWII Czechoslovakia. What is China's response to his remarks? Are China-Philippines territorial disputes exacerbating?
A: The disputes in the South China Sea between China and the Philippines mainly stem from the Philippines' illegal occupation of some islands and reefs of China's Nansha islands. The fact is crystal clear. Our two countries also have disputes over the delineation of maritime boundaries. China firmly opposes the Philippines' occupation of China's islands and reefs. As an unwavering upholder of international justice, China made huge sacrifice and indelible historical contribution to the victory of the World Anti-Fascist War. It is inconceivable and unreasonble to place China-Philippines South China Sea disputes in the same category with the WWII history. The Chinese side is shocked at and dissatisfied with the remarks from the Philippine side.
The Chinese government has firm resolve to uphold territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests. We also commit to the settlement of relevant disputes through direct negotiation and consultation among relevant parties concerned. We hope that the Philippines will correct its mistakes and work toward the same goal with China to jointly uphold regional peace and stability.
(VERA Files is put out by veteran journalists taking a deeper look at current issues. Vera is Latin for truth.)