© AP Photo / Danny Lawson
https://sputniknews.com-The spat between China and the UK erupted after Beijing announced support for Buenos Aires’ territorial claim over Britain’s Falkland Islands. The South American country signed agreements to allow China-funded development projects under the Belt and Road Initiative on 6 February.
China has stepped up pressure on the UK over the Falklands, a British overseas territory in the Atlantic Ocean, which remains the subject of a sovereignty dispute between the United Kingdom and Argentina, which waged war over the archipelago in 1982.
On Tuesday, Zhao Lijian, a spokesman of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, affirmed Buenos Aires’ “right of sovereignty” over the Falklands, which Argentina calls Las Malvinas. Zhao said the UK should renounce its claim following the purposes and principles of the UN Charter.
“China firmly supports Argentina’s legitimate claims of sovereignty over the Malvinas Islands,” Zhao Lijian said during the weekly media briefing.
The statement comes a day after the UK’s Foreign Secretary, Liz Truss, stated: “We completely reject any questions over sovereignty of the Falklands,” in the wake of a meeting between Argentine president Alberto Fernández and China’s President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.
“The Falklands are part of the British family, and we will defend their right to self-determination,” Truss said, seeking acknowledgment from China that it would respect the Falklands’ sovereignty.
China raised the issue last year in the UN when the country’s deputy permanent representative to the UN, Geng Shuang, demanded an end to all forms of colonialism.
The Falklands are a self-governing British overseas territory that has been under UK control since 1833.
Argentina and the UK have been in a dispute over the territory nearly 13,000km away from the British mainland. The two countries fought a fierce but brief war over control of the islands in 1982, in which 255 British troops and 650 Argentine soldiers died.