馬尼拉——周二，菲律賓總統貝尼尼奧·S·阿基諾三世 (Benigno S. Aquino III)呼籲世界各國做出更多努力，支持菲律賓抵制中國對菲律賓附近海域提出的強硬主權要求，並且把現狀與1938年的情況進行了對比，當時，西方國家沒 有支持捷克斯洛伐克反抗希特拉對捷克的領土要求。
周三，中國政府對阿基諾的上述言論反應強烈。官方通訊社新 華社發表了署名評論文章，稱阿基諾的應對方式具有煽動性，令人遺憾。該評論文章稱，中國在該地區的主權要求有確鑿的歷史依據，「一個專業、成熟的菲律賓領 導人可以與中國開展對話協商，尋求解決領土爭端，由此為自己的國家帶來更多利益。」
2012年，菲律賓軍隊在與中國的一場對峙中撤離後，菲律 賓似乎已經失去了對黃岩島的實際控制。黃岩島是一片礁石，也是最著名的爭議地區之一。菲律賓撤軍是經由美國調解達成的一項協議的一部分。協議規定雙方同時 撤退，通過談判解決爭端。然而，中國軍隊留了下來，取得了控制權。在擔任總統的近四年時間裡，現年53歲的阿基諾在一個曾被稱為「東亞病夫」的國家裡取得 的成就超出了他的國家及其所在地區的預期。2009年，他的母親、前總統科拉松·C·阿基諾(Corazon C. Aquino)去世，隨之而來的舉國同情幫助他在次年登上了總統之位，儘管那時的他還是一個比較低調的參議員。
政治分析人士稱，他領導的政府打擊並減輕了腐敗，腐敗是阻 礙菲律賓發展的因素之一。關於這方面的變化，一個實際的標誌是，菲律賓每1億比索（約合1340萬元人民幣）支出中，能用於鋪設公路的資金多於過去——資 金因貪腐官員和無能低效而流失的時代，最終掃除了制約商業的一個障礙。
此外，他對土地改革的態度並非特別堅決——阿基諾家族是菲 律賓擁有土地最多的家族之一——他更青睞的方案是把菲律賓政府的社會開支更多地轉移到貧窮的農村地區。沃爾登·貝洛(Walden Bello)雖然是總統執政聯盟的一名議員，但卻仍然表示，包括他自己在內，許多人都認為「土地改革缺乏實際進展是貧困率保持」在高水平的「根本原因之 一」。
同時，中國強烈反對把《聯合國海洋法公約》(United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea)的規定和數值公式應用到為數眾多的礁石和島嶼之上，那些礁石和島嶼離菲律賓等國比離中國近很多。北京的官員還反對多邊磋商，傾向於與東南亞的國家 單獨展開雙邊對話，中國領導人可以通過這種策略施加更大的壓力。
與中國之間的問題遠不止關於南海的爭端。香港政府得到了位 於北京的中國外交部的大力支持，計劃從周三開始停止菲律賓外交或公務護照持有人14天免簽證訪港的政策。2010年，馬尼拉發生了劫持人質的暴力事件，營 救工作最終失敗，共導致8名港人死亡。香港此後一直要求菲律賓國家政府就此事進行道歉，前述制裁便是相關要求的部分內容。
Philippine Leader Sounds Alarm on China
February 07, 2014
MANILA — President Benigno S. Aquino III called on Tuesday for nations around the world to do more to support the Philippines in resisting China’s assertive claims to the seas near his country, drawing a comparison to the West’s failure to support Czechoslovakia against Hitler’s demands for Czech land in 1938.
Like Czechoslovakia, the Philippines faces demands to surrender territory piecemeal to a much stronger foreign power and needs more robust foreign support for the rule of international law if it is to resist, President Aquino said in a 90-minute interview in the wood-paneled music room of the presidential palace.
“If we say yes to something we believe is wrong now, what guarantee is there that the wrong will not be further exacerbated down the line?” he said. “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.”
The Chinese government reacted strongly on Wednesday to Mr. Aquino’s remarks. The official news agency, Xinhua, published a signed commentary calling Mr. Aquino’s approach inflammatory and unfortunate. China’s claims in the region have a sound historical foundation, the commentary said, and “a professional and mature Philippine leader could do more good to his country by seeking to resolve the territorial disputes with China through dialogue and consultation.”
Mr. Aquino’s remarks are among 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.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan caused a stir in Davos, Switzerland, when he noted last month that Britain and Germany went to war in 1914 even though they had close economic ties — much as China and Japan have now.
Japan has been locked in an increasingly tense standoff with China over uninhabited islands in the East China Sea, and even South Korea, which has been quieter about Chinese claims, expressed alarm last year when Beijing announced that it had the right to police the skies above a vast area of ocean, including areas claimed by Japan and South Korea.
While China’s efforts to claim rocks, shoals and fishing grounds off the coast of the Philippines in the South China Sea have been less high profile, the Chinese have moved faster there.
The Philippines already appears to have lost effective control of one of the best-known places of contention, a reef called Scarborough Shoal, after Philippine forces withdrew during a standoff with China in 2012. They left as part of an American-mediated deal in which both sides were to pull back while the dispute was negotiated. Chinese forces remained, however, and gained control. In his nearly four years as president, Mr. Aquino, 53, has exceeded expectations, in his country and the region, for what he could accomplish in a nation once known as the “sick man of Asia.” He was a fairly low-key senator when he was propelled into the presidency in 2010 by a wave of national sympathy after the death the year before of his mother, former President Corazon C. Aquino.
Political analysts say his administration has fought and reduced the corruption that played a role in holding the Philippines back. In one practical measure of that change, the country has been able to pave more roads per 100 million pesos in spending (about $2.2 million) than before — when funds were lost to corrupt officials and incompetence — finally addressing an impediment to commerce.
All of the major credit-rating agencies now give the Philippines an investment-grade rating, though the recent downturn in share prices and currencies here and in other emerging markets, on fears of further slowing of the Chinese economy, poses an immediate challenge.
In another accomplishment, Mr. Aquino’s negotiators concluded a major peace agreement last month with the main resistance group on Mindanao, the heavily Muslim southern island. Still, the deal remains something of a gamble; it is based in good part on the Muslim group’s ability to hold in check smaller resistance groups, which criticized the pact almost immediately.
Despite those successes, Mr. Aquino was criticized for the country’s slow initial response to last year’s devastating typhoon. He said the storm was so powerful that it overwhelmed the Philippines’ many preparations.
He has also been less aggressive on land reform — the Aquinos are among the country’s biggest landowning families — and he has preferred to shift more of the government’s social spending to poor villages instead. Walden Bello, although a congressman in the president’s governing coalition, said he was one of many who believed that “the lack of real progress on land reform is a real reason why poverty rates have remained” at high levels.
Analysts say the almost feudal power of some entrenched families, including some with militias, is a further obstacle to growth. But Mr. Aquino said he was trying to convince the families that becoming less insular would foster greater prosperity.
Mr. Aquino is prevented by law from seeking re-election when his six-year term expires in 2016, raising uncertainty about whether his changes will continue.
In the wide-ranging interview on Tuesday, Mr. Aquino said he thought the Philippines and the United States were close to a long-delayed deal that would allow more American troops to rotate through the Philippines, enhancing his country’s security. But the subject remains controversial among the political elite in the Philippines, with memories of the country’s past as an American possession making them wary of closer military ties.
The United States is pushing for the deal to aid in its rebalance to Asia, where it hopes to retain a strong influence despite China’s rise.
Speaking of the Philippines’ own tensions with the Chinese, Mr. Aquino said his country would not renounce any of its possessions in the sea between it and China.
China contends that centuries-old maps show that it had an early claim to the South China Sea almost to Borneo. It is trying to use its large and growing fleet to exercise effective control over reefs and islands in the sea, a strategy that could strengthen its legal position.
At the same time, China has strongly resisted applying the procedures and numerical formulas of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea to the many reefs and islands that lie much closer to countries like the Philippines than to China. Officials in Beijing also oppose multilateral discussions, preferring bilateral talks with individual countries in Southeast Asia, an approach that allows Chinese leaders to apply greater pressure.
While China has been improving its military, Mr. Aquino noted that the last flight by a Philippine fighter jet was in 2005 and that the plane dated from before the Vietnam War. Most of the country’s tiny naval and coast guard fleet dates to World War II.
The difficulties with China extend beyond the arguments over the South China Sea. The Hong Kong government, with enthusiastic backing from the Chinese Foreign Ministry in Beijing, plans to stop allowing 14-day visa-free visits by Filipino diplomats and officials starting Wednesday. The sanctions are part of a long-running demand by Hong Kong that the national government of the Philippines apologize over a violent episode in 2010 in which a hostage rescue attempt in Manila failed, leaving eight Hong Kong citizens dead.
In his first public response to the sanctions, Mr. Aquino said he had no plans to apologize, saying that doing so could create a legal liability and noting that China had not paid compensation to the families of Filipinos who have died in violence there.
Mr. Aquino, who is not married, lives in a small cottage behind the presidential palace instead of in the luxurious palace itself. He said he tries to relax before going to sleep each night either by listening to music — often jazz — or pursuing his passion as an amateur historian, reading military journals, some about World War II.
While recently reading about the predicament of Czechoslovakia’s leaders in the late 1930s, he said, he saw a parallel “in a sense” to his own problems now in facing challenges from China. Appeasement did not work in 1938, he noted; within six months of the surrender of the Sudetenland, Germany occupied most of the rest of Czechoslovakia.
The Philippines, he said, is determined not to make similar concessions. “You may have the might,” he said of China, “but that does not necessarily make you right.”