China’s 9-dash claim form of expansionism — DFA

MANILA, Feb. 6 (PNA) -– China’s massive claim over nearly the entire South China Sea under its so-called nine-dash line map is a form of expansionism, the Department of Foreign Affairs said on Thursday.

“Expansionism in the form of the nine-dash line in the South China Sea is in gross violation of the rule of law and threatens peace and stability,” Foreign Affairs spokesman Raul Hernandez told a press briefing.

China’s nine-dash claim marks a huge swath of the South China Sea in a tongue-shaped encirclement as Chinese territory. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam have been contesting China’s massive claim.

Hernandez’ remarks came after Chinese state news agency Xinhua’s commentary criticizing President Benigno S. Aquino III for comparing China’s claims in the waters to the demand for land made by Nazi Germany to former Czechoslovakia in 1938.

“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,” Aquino told the New York Times in an interview as he called on world leaders to stand up against China’s aggressive moves in the South China Sea.

Xinhua called Aquino “an amateurish politician who was ignorant both of history and reality.”

In an apparent attempt to assert control over the disputed waters, China has set up an administrative region that covers the South China Sea and has imposed a fishing ban for non-Chinese vessels in the area.

Such moves drew sharp protests from claimants and Western nations led by the United States, a long-time Philippine military ally.

“This expansionism is being driven by might and not what is right,” Hernandez said.

“We should learn from history that appeasement does not halt expansionism. To prevent the mistake of the past, the entire international community should unite in upholding the rule of law.”

Last year, the Philippines challenged China’s sweeping claim before an international tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands.

China, which claims “indisputable sovereignty” over the South China Sea, refused to join in the proceedings, saying the Philippine case is baseless. (PNA)