An anchor on China’s state-run TV network has accidentally declared the Philippines a part of China, in an embarrassing gaffe as tensions between the two nations run high.
He Jia (和佳), anchor for China Central Television’s (CCTV) nationally televised news broadcast, made the claim during a late Monday broadcast that has been repeatedly replayed on the Internet.
The presenter apparently meant to say that Huangyan Island (黃岩島) — known in the Philippines as the Scarborough Shoal, and claimed by Taiwan — is part of Chinese territory.
“We all know that the Philippines is China’s inherent territory and the Philippines belongs to Chinese sovereignty, this is an indisputable fact,” she said in the broadcast, which has since disappeared from the CCTV Web site, but is available elsewhere on the Web.
Viewers joked in online -postings that the presenter’s nationalistic fervor led to her mistake.
“This anchor woman is great, a good patriot, she has announced to the world the Philippines belongs to China,” a microblogger named helenjhuang said. “We should attack directly, send [Philippine President Benigno] Aquino packing and take back our inherent territory.”
“The Philippines have basically been making irrational trouble, if they want to start a war, then we will strike, no one fears them,” another microblogger named kongdehua said: “If every Chinese spat once, we could drown [the Philippines].”
Meanwhile, the Philippines said yesterday the US had pledged to protect it from attacks in the South China Sea, a day after China issued a warning over a territorial row in the waters.
Philippine Secretary of Defence Voltaire Gazmin said he had received the assurances during talks in Washington last week in which the Philippines’ increasingly tense dispute with China over rival claims to a shoal in the sea were discussed.
Gazmin said US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta stressed they were not taking sides in the dispute, but they assured the Philippines the US would honor a 1951 mutual defense treaty.