China slams Philippine leader for Hitler comparison

Philippine President Benigno Aquino Image copyright AFP
Image caption Philippine President Benigno Aquino warned the world against "appeasement" of China.

China's state news agency has branded Philippine President Benigno Aquino a "disgrace" for his comments warning the world not to appease China like Europe once appeased Nazi Germany.

Benigno Aquino told the New York Times that the world must learn a lesson from 1938, when the UK and France allowed Hitler his claims to Czech territory.

China claims parts of the South China Sea which the Philippines disputes.

The spat is the latest in a war of words between China and its neighbours.

Mr Aquino called on the world to do more to support his country against China's claims to its nearby seas.

"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," Mr Aquino said.

The Sudetenland was part of what was then called Czechoslovakia before the UK and France agreed to allow Hitler to take it.

The comments quickly drew the ire of China's official state news agency Xinhua, which published an article calling Mr Aquino "ignorant".

The remarks "exposed his true colours as an amateurish politician, who was ignorant both of history and reality", the article said.

China claims ownership of large parts of the South China Sea, including the Spratly Islands and the Scarborough Shoal, which lie off the coast of the Philippines.

China says its claim stems from 2,000 years of historical convention, but the Philippines and Vietnam, among others, dispute this.

War of words

The remarks are the latest in a war of words between China and the other countries in the region with which it has territorial disputes.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe caused controversy at the economic forum in Davos last month, when he said that China and Japan were "in a similar situation" to Germany and Britain just before the outbreak of World War I.

He said that strong trade ties did not in themselves preclude the outbreak of war.

Mr Abe went on to criticise China's annual double-digit increase in military spending, saying it was a major source of instability in the region.

In response, Xinhua referred to Mr Abe as the "disgraced Japanese prime minister".

Image copyright AP
Image caption Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (r) was also criticised by the Chinese press

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