In a statement on Sunday, China said it would support Argentina in its claims over the Falklands Islands – also known as Islas Malvinas – a self-governing British overseas territory in the southern Atlantic. The remote archipelago is a subject of an almost 200-year sovereignty dispute.
Beijing said that it hoped negotiations over the islands would resume soon in accordance with relevant UN resolutions to resolve the dispute peacefully.
China’s announcement, which was part of a joint statement on deepening relations between Beijing and Buenos Aires, has angered Britain.
“We completely reject any questions over sovereignty of the Falklands. The Falklands are part of the British family and we will defend their right to self-determination. China must respect the Falklands’ sovereignty,” Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said in a tweet on Sunday.
Argentinian President Alberto Fernandez met China’s President Xi Jinping on the fringes of the winter Olympics over the weekend. It is understood that Fernandez pledged to support China’s claims over Taiwan, which Beijing says is an inseparable part of the Chinese state. Taiwan maintains its independence and is de-facto ruled by its own government.
Buenos Aires links its claim to an inheritance from the Spanish crown when it gained independence in 1816. Britain says it had settled the islands before Argentina even existed.