BEIJING: Philippine President Benigno S Aquino III, who has taken an inflammatory approach while dealing with maritime disputes with China, has never been a great candidate for a wise statesman in the region.
But his latest reported attack against China, in which he senselessly compared his northern neighbour to the Nazi Germany, exposed his true color as an amateurish politician who was ignorant both of history and reality.
He also joined the ranks of disgraced Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who created great controversy after comparing Japan-China relations to those between the United Kingdom and Germany in the run-up to the First World War last month at the annual World Economic Forum in Switzerland.
For starters, China’s claims of sovereignty in the South China Sea has a sound historical foundation. More importantly, China, instead of bullying its smaller neighbors as Manila has claimed, also seeks to resolve the issue through dialogue and consultation on an equal basis.
The Philippine leader conveniently chose to ignore the very fact that it is his government that has adopted a confrontational approach by trying to snatching islands and waters that have long been an unalienable part of Chinese territories since ancient times. It is very unfortunate that the Philippine leader is still trying to create animosity with China even after China has successfully reached critical common ground with regional countries such as Brunei and Vietnam over the issue in the past year.
Territorial disputes are always sensitive issues. No one expects them to be resolved overnight. Thus it is important for political leaders to sound rational and reasonable when they address them.
Relations between China and the Philippines have improved to some extent after the Chinese people extended a helping hand to the southeast Asian country in the wake of a devastating typhoon.
Aquino’s latest attack against China may very much have squandered this unique opportunity to further improve relations with China.
Despite lame comparisons by Philippine and Japanese leaders, the international community cannot ignore the fact that China has long chosen a path of peaceful development.
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