China media brands Philippine president 'ignorant and amateurish' after Hitler gibe

Philippine President Benigno Aquino speaks during a press briefing in 2012.

Story highlights

  • State media calls the Philippine president "ignorant" and "amateurish"
  • Benigno Aquino compared Beijing's pursuit of disputed territory with the rise of Nazi Germany
  • Comments echo a similar historical parallel made by Japan's leader
  • China says it has chosen a path of peaceful development

Chinese state media has called the Philippine president "ignorant" and "amateurish" after he compared Beijing's pursuit of disputed territory in the South China Sea with the rise of Nazi Germany.

A scathing commentary released by news agency Xinhua Wednesday said Benigno Aquino "had never been a great candidate for a wise statesman in the region."

The comments came after Aquino called for the world to do more to support the Philippines in resisting China's claims, drawing a comparison to the West's failure to support Czechoslovakia against Hitler's demands for Czech lands in 1938.

"At what point do you say 'Enough is enough?' Well the world has to say it -- remember that Sudentenland was given in an attempt to appease Hitler to prevent World War II," Benigno told the New York Times in an interview.

In the riposte, Xinhua said the "senseless attack" exposed "his true color as an amateurish politician who was ignorant of both history and reality."

President Aquino: Local response failed
President Aquino: Local response failed


    President Aquino: Local response failed


President Aquino: Local response failed 12:47
China's new passport angers neighbors
China's new passport angers neighbors


    China's new passport angers neighbors


China's new passport angers neighbors 01:41
Japan scrambles fighter jets
Japan scrambles fighter jets


    Japan scrambles fighter jets


Japan scrambles fighter jets 03:03

It's not the first time that an Asian leader has invoked the build-up to a world war to depict tensions over territorial claims in the region.

At the World Economic Forum in Davos last month, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe raised eyebrows when he drew a parallel between the current state of relations between Japan and China and that of Britain and Germany before the start of World War I a century ago.

MORE: China and Japan deploy Harry Potter villain in latest spat

Xinhua said that despite the "lame comparisons" made by Japan and the Philippines, China had chosen a path of peaceful development and its territorial claims in the South China Sea have a "sound historical foundation."

The maritime area is home to messy mix of rival claims, with China, Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam disputing sovereignty of island chains and nearby waters.

The Philippines and China both say that Scarborough Shoal, about 200 kilometers west of the Philippines mainland, is "an integral part" of their territory.

China, Japan and South Korea also dispute sovereignty of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea.

The areas in dispute include fertile fishing grounds and potentially rich reserves of undersea natural resources.

MORE: Asia's disputed islands: Who claims what?

      Asia's disputed islands

    • The Sierra Madre was grounded on the Second Thomas Shoal by the Philippines authorities in the 1990s — a detachment of marines is stationed on the rusting hulk.

      Wrecks, rats, roaches

      At first sight it looks like a scene from a post-apocalyptic movie. Journalist Tomas Etzler travels to one of the most remote locations in the South China Sea -- the front line of a dispute between the Philippines and China.
    • This disputed islands in the East China Sea are known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China.

      Opinion: China's balancing act

      President Xi Jinping has reshaped China's foreign policy by recalibrating its stresses on sovereignty and stability, writes Shen Dingli.
    • This photo taken on October 23, 2013 shows Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) fighter jets leaving their base in Shanghai. Beijing's behaviour in its row with Tokyo over disputed islands is jeopardising peace, Japan's defence minister said on October 29, days after China warned a reported plan to shoot down its drones would constitute "an act of war". AFP PHOTO / Mark RALSTONMARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images

      War of words heats tensions

      Surprise, surprise, Japan and China are still not getting along, writes Jeff Kingston of Temple University in Japan.
    • Players are asked to fight Japan over disputed real-life islands in "Glorious Mission Online," a video game co-developed by the Chinese People's Liberation Army.

      Chinese gamers mimic island fight

      Players join the ranks of the country's military to take on the enemy in China's first online game co-developed by the People's Liberation Army.
    • An aerial view of Sansha -- China's newest city, which is located on Woody Island and part of the Paracels.

      China to open islands to tourism

      Sightseeing cruises soon to set sail to China's newest city, Sansha, located on a disputed island in the South China Sea, a Chinese official said.