MANILA - The Department of National Defense (DND) said the country has always exercised maximum restraint in the West Philippine Sea contrary to what has been said by a US Air Force general.
In a statement, DND spokesman Peter Galvez said President Aquino's recent statement that triggered a reaction from Gen. Herbert Carlisle, the commander of the US Pacific Air Force, "should be seen in light of the Philippine Government’s call to the international community to oppose aggressive acts as they contravene established international conventions."
Galvez said it is the Philippines that has always been the object of harassment in the West Philippine Sea, he said.
“We believe that in opposing aggressive and expansionist behavior, the Philippines is not only serving its national interests, but also serving the region’s as well, including all states which have a stake in freedom of navigation and clear territorial rights as defined under the principles of UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea),” said Galvez.
Aquino earlier compared China to Nazi Germany’s Hitler.
In an interview with New York Times, Aquino said: “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?”
“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.”
Desperate to avoid war in the 1930s, the world powers agreed to give Germany the very strategic Sudetenland in order that Hitler will no longer demand more territories across Europe. Sudetenland was part of Czechoslovakia, which Hitler desperately wanted to dominate.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also raised eyebrows when he drew parallelisms between the relations of China and Japan with that of Britain and Germany at the onset of World War I.
In response, Carlisle said Japan and the Philippines are not helping de-escalate tensions in the disputed areas.
“The de-escalation of tensions has got to be a multilateral approach and it’s not just one country that needs to de-escalate.. All of them do. The risk from miscalculation is high. It’s greater than it should be,” he said.