Palace: Mention of Hitler in sea row not meant to offend China
MANILA, Philippines – Palace on Wednesday insisted that President Benigno Aquino III’s mention of Adolf Hitler in a New York Times interview was not meant to offend China.
Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma told media that the President was merely answering a question with a historical fact.
The New York Times article quoted Aquino saying, “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.”
He was referring to territorial disputes with China. The report said it was the “strongest indications yet of alarm among Asian heads of state about China’s military buildup and territorial ambitions, and the second time in recent weeks that an Asian leader has volunteered a comparison to the prelude to world wars.”
Aquino said he saw Czechoslovakia’s predicament in the 1930s as parallel “in a sense” to the Philippines, pointing out that at that time the appeasement did not work and Germany six months later seized parts of Czechoslovakia.
“You may have the might…but that does not necessarily make you right,” the President said of China.
But Coloma said Aquino was not directly comparing China to Germany or Hitler, who was infamous for causing the deaths of millions of people.
He explained that the President made it a habit to read military history and he was simply “citing the fact.”
“There were antecedents (during the interview) that would logically lead to this particular citation,” he said.
Coloma insisted that there was no intent to add fuel to the fire as the Philippines deals with China’s territorial claims, as well as Hong Kong’s sanctions over the government’s refusal to apologize for the hostage taking incident in 2010 that left eight of their citizens dead.
Meanwhile, he said the government is working to improve the countries naval assets and facilities.
“Masyadong mahaba ’yung ating 36,000 miles of coastline, for which we only have 32 navy vessels… Kaya’t ‘yung aspetong ‘yan ng pagpapahusay sa pasilidad has to be taken within the bigger picture na sinisikap nating ma-modernize ‘yung ating mga naval assets,” he said.
(The 36,000 miles of our coastline is too long to be patrolled by our 32 naval vessels…that is why improving our facilities should be taken within the bigger picture of modernizing out naval assets.)