World / Asia-Pacific

Philippine media accuse president of playing with fire over S. China Sea

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-06-05 09:48

MANILA - Philippine President Benigno Aquino III's recent remarks on the South China Sea disputes have not only aroused deep dissatisfaction among the Chinese, but also prompted domestic criticism, as local media warned him against playing with fire over these issues.

In its editorial on Thursday, the Manila Times, a leading daily in the Philippines, said that by announcing the inclusion of the disputed territories issue in his Japan state visit agenda, Aquino is again stirring the pot, adding that "the apparent agitation seems unnecessary and it is unclear what national interest it hopes to serve."

In a speech during his Japan tour earlier Wednesday, Aquino compared China to Nazi Germany with regard to the territorial disputes in the South China Sea and called on the United States to play a role in stopping China's rising might.

"The Aquino government's approach to territorial disputes actually worsened the situation for the Philippines," the editorial said.

The editorial warned the president to have a rational endgame in mind. "Is he instead expecting the Chinese to be intimidated by US naval presence around the disputed territories?" the newspaper asked.

"Is the Philippines hoping for a hot war between China and the US over the disputed territories? We hope not, because when giants collide, little players like the Philippines risk being squashed. More formally, instability in the Asia Pacific would threaten economic development in the entire region, including the Philippines," it said.

Referring to Philippines-China ties, the editorial said that the disputed territories issue should not define bilateral relations. "We also believe that we have more to gain from befriending China than by antagonizing it unnecessarily and contributing to the escalation of tensions between the Chinese and Americans," it said.

The Manila Times expected a peaceful resolution to the conflict through diplomacy. "But for a peaceful and mutually beneficial resolution to be reached, President Aquino should first learn the proverb: You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar."

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying on Wednesday dismissed Aquino's remarks on the South China Sea disputes.

She warned the Philippines to give up its illusions, stop such provocations and return to the track of negotiation and consultation.

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