Aquino Ignorant to Compare China to Nazi Germany, Xinhua Says

Philippine President Benigno Aquino made a “senseless attack” when he compared China to Nazi Germany over its territorial claims in disputed seas, China’s official Xinhua News Agency said in a commentary today.

In an interview with the New York Times published today, Aquino called on nations around the world to support the Philippines in defending its territory in the South China Sea, drawing a historical parallel with the West’s failure to support Czechoslovakia against Adolf Hitler’s demands for the Sudetenland in 1938.

Aquino’s remarks “exposed his true color as an amateurish politician who was ignorant both of history and reality,” Xinhua said in the commentary. China’s claims had a sound historical foundation, the article said, and Aquino was trying to create animosity, squandering the opportunity to build on bilateral ties that improved after China aided the Philippines in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan in November.

The Philippines is locked in a dispute with China over the potentially oil-rich Spratly Islands. Spats involving fishing and exploration boats have raised tensions in the area, where there is competition for fish, gas and oil.

Aquino’s remarks weren’t meant to offend China, Philippine Communications Secretary Sonny Coloma said at a briefing in Manila today.

“What we can learn from history, we can compare it to the present and ask if past events are relevant to the present,” Coloma said. “That’s the context within which he mentioned this particular event and the name of Adolf Hitler.”

Japan, which also has a dispute with China over islands in the East China Sea, last month incurred the wrath of China after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe compared Sino-Japanese relations to those of the U.K. and Germany prior to World War I, where close economic ties didn’t prevent the nations going to war.

To contact the reporter on this story: Neil Western in Hong Kong at nwestern@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rosalind Mathieson at rmathieson3@bloomberg.net

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