Argentina’s Defence Minister, Arturo Puricelli, currently visiting China for a series of talks on defence matters, appears intrigued by the possible application of the ‘one country, two systems’ solution that was applied to Hong Kong when its 99 year lease to the United Kingdom ran out in 1999.
Speaking at a Press Conference in Beijing, Puricelli said; “The invasion of the Falkland’s United Kingdom occurred in 1833, Hong Kong in 1838, five years later. We want to follow this path to retrieve our Falklands,” adding, “The experience of China in negotiating the recovery of Hong Kong is a relevant precedent for the dialogue we are expecting to have on the Falklands in the near future”.
He also offered his hosts Argentina’s full support in China’s claim to the island of Taiwan, and applauded the two countries recognition of the importance of ‘territorial integrity’, rather than the acknowledged human right of, ‘self-determination’.
Although the obscure sub-sub-Committee at the United Nations, known as the Special Committee on Decolonization, calls every year for negotiations between Argentina and the United Kingdom over sovereignty of the Falkland Islands no talks are planned. Indeed, the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, has made it very plain that no talks will ever take place unless the Falkland Islanders ask for them. The Defence Minister’s expectations are unlikely therefore, to be met.
Unlike Hong Kong, the vast majority of which was under a 99 year lease, the Falkland Islands have been owned by Britain since 1765. In 1833 a small British force removed a trespassing Argentine garrison which Buenos Aires had sent, in spite of being warned against such a move in 1829.
Britain always recognised that the New Territories of Hong Kong were the sovereign territory of China, whereas Britain has never acknowledged Argentina’s claim to the sovereignty of the Falklands.