Falklands at risk after China urged Argentina to use 'strength' against 'arrogant' UK

Falklands at risk after China urged Argentina to use 'strength' against 'arrogant' UK

15/07 THE FALKLANDS ISLANDS have been subject to heated debate and conflict between the UK and Argentina for decades, with a Chinese academic arguing that "strength" must be used in order to solve the dispute.

Britain has long stood firm in the face of calls to enter negotiations with Argentina about the disputed Falklands Islands. Despite this, representatives from Argentina have previously presented their arguments claiming control over the region to the UN. Only in June did Felipe Solá and Daniel Filmus travel to New York in a bid to obtain support from 29 members of the UN's "Decolonisation Committee".

It is unclear whether their talks bore fruit.

Fully behind their calls was China, who attended the meeting.

China has in recent years nestled itself into the debate.

Cui Hongjian, director of the Department of European Studies, China Institute of International Studies, this year argued that the question had reached a point where it could only be resolved by "strength".

Speaking to Global Times - a publication backed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) - in a piece titled: 'Facing arrogant London, Buenos Aires should push back on Malvinas', Mr Cui claimed London believes more in power politics than abiding by international law and the rules-based order.

He said: "On the one hand, there has been a rise in power politics in the international community, harming international rules.

"On the other hand, the UK will hold a stronger position on some historical issues after Brexit."

Mr Cui told the publication that Argentina should continue to put its case to the UN, especially since the UN recognised that the Falklands is framed in a "colonial situation" in 1965.

In this context, he said: "The UK has pushed the problem to a point where it seems that it can only be resolved by strength."

Controversially, he added that Argentina should take "precautions" against the UK's next moves after Brexit, claiming that Britain might take "risky actions" like increasing the number of troops stationed on the islands, "or making provocative moves against Argentina, so Argentina must keep vigilant".

It is worth noting that the Chinese government has not suggested that Argentina should attack the UK.

But the country backed the Argentines this year, hitting out at what it described as prevalent Western "colonialism" in the region.

The diplomatic outpouring came at a time when relations between Beijing and London were - and still are - at an all time high.

Britain has issued sanctions against China for its human rights abuses against Muslims in the country's western province of Xinjiang, and for clamping down on freedom rights in the former colony of Hong Kong.

Geng Shuang, Beijing’s permanent representative to the UN, delivered a speech at the UN's special committee on decolonisation.

He urged Britain to "start dialogue and negotiations" with Argentina, which could see the islands handed over.

Mr Shuang said: “China has always maintained that territorial disputes between countries should be resolved through peaceful negotiations in line with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter.

"We hope Britain will actively respond to Argentina's request, start dialogue and negotiations as soon as possible with a view to finding a peaceful, just and lasting solution in accordance with relevant UN resolutions."

The current grievances are rooted in history, but came to a head in 1982 when Argentina invaded the Falklands, which it calls the Islas Malvinas, and nearby South Georgia.

The UK retaliated, recapturing both territories in a conflict which left nearly 1,000 people dead.

Today, the UK's claim to the islands is backed up by its 3,000 inhabitants, who are believed to overwhelmingly want to remain British.

This is not surprising given the majority of the population are of British descent.

In 2013, 99.8 percent of Falkland Islanders who voted backed their status as a British overseas territory.

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