Back off, Xi! China ordered to stop ‘meddling’ in Falklands row after angry Truss warning

Falklands: Alberto Fernandez says the UK is 'ignoring' Argentina

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But Andrew Rosindell insisted Argentina’s sovereignty claim over the disputed archipelago was forever doomed to fail irrespective of Beijing’s pronouncements. The member for Romford was speaking after China’s President Xi Jinping and Argentinean opposite number Alberto Fernandez issued a joint statement last week calling for Argentina to be given “the full exercise of sovereignty” over the islands.

UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss swiftly hit back to say Britain “completely rejected” Buenos Aires’ claim on the islands, located 400 miles from South America, and which Argentina called the Malvinas.

Mr Rosindell, chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on British overseas territories, of which the Falklands is one, told “For the Chinese to meddle in British foreign affairs is completely unacceptable, especially when they are backing Argentine claims to land that is not theirs.

“The Argentine and indeed the Chinese, governments must respect the sovereignty of the Islands, and would do well to refrain from making inflammatory comments which serve to ignite tensions.”

The Chinese Communist Party was looking to gain influence all around the world and “making moves to appease governments on every continent”, Mr Rosindell claimed.

He said: “They have already gained influence in the northern regions of South America so it is concerning that they are looking to expand their sphere to the southern parts of the continent too.”

As well as marking the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, 2022 would also see the 40th anniversary of the liberation of the Falkland Islands from a “hostile military dictatorship”, Mr Rosindell pointed out.

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He added: “The Falkland Islands, as well as South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands, are self-governing British Overseas Territories and have been since 1832.

“There is absolutely no reason to change that.

“The people of the Falklands Islands have made it clear through a democratic referendum that they wish to retain their British sovereignty.

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“The status of the Falkland Islands is up to the people of the Falkland Islands and the Islanders have been unequivocal in their desire to remain part of the British family.“

In 2013, on a turnout of 92 percent, just three people had voted against remaining as an Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom.

Therefore, In that referendum, 99.8 percent of people had voted to stay British, Mr Rosindell underlined.

He said: “Any Argentine claims to the Islands are without validity and there can never be shared sovereignty of the Islands.

“They must be solely British, in line with the views of the Islanders.

“The Falkland Islanders are proud of their British heritage and roots, they are a deeply patriotic population who love their country and are loyal to Her Majesty The Queen.”

According to a statement on London’s Chinese Embassy website, Xi and Mr Fernandez spoke of their “deep friendship” and Argentina signed up to China’s Belt and Road infrastructure initiative, a state-backed campaign for global influence.

But they also signed an agreement in which China reasserted its support for Argentina’s claim to the Falklands, while Mr Fernandez backed Xi’s one-China policy, which claims Taiwan as its own.

Ms Truss tweeted: “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.”

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