In a speech to Japanese business leaders yesterday, Philippines President Benigno Aquino openly denounced PRC China’s actions in the South China Sea. He declared that the world cannot continue to appease Beijing as it tries to claim more territory in the disputed sea route.

Aquino’s comments have come as regional and international watchers have watched with anxiety as PRC China’s land reclamation projects in the disputed area have intensified, including the building of a runway long enough for large military-grade planes.

“If there was a vacuum – if the United States, which is the superpower, says ‘we are not interested’ – perhaps, there is no brake to ambitions of other countries,” Mr Aquino told business leaders in Tokyo.

“I’m an amateur student of history and I’m reminded of… how Germany was testing the waters and what the response was by various other European powers,” he said, referring to the Nazis’ territorial conquests in the months before the start of World War II.

“They tested the waters and they were ready to back down if, for instance, in that aspect, France said (to back down). But unfortunately, up to the annexation of the Sudetenland, Czechoslovakia, the annexation of the entire country of Czechoslovakia, nobody said stop. If somebody said stop to (Adolf) Hitler at that point in time, or to Germany at that time, would we have avoided World War II?”

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