Argentina should put up or shut up over its claim to the Falklands
For the 25th anniversary of the Falklands war, the South China Morning Post published a series of reports on April 2 and yesterday about Argentina's claims to the islands, which are situated in the remote South Atlantic, far outside its territorial waters.
Argentina's claims are loud, persistent and wholly spurious. They are propaganda to distract the Argentinian people from problems at home.
At no time has any Argentinian lived on the Falkland Islands. They were unpopulated until European powers such as France, England and Spain appeared on the scene. Once occupied, the islands were successively a French and then a British dependency. Imperial Spain took no demonstrable steps to include the islands in its Latin American empire, of which present-day Argentina once formed a part. Historically, Argentina has, in public international law, definitely no title to the islands.
The only human community that has lived, and still lives, on the islands is British in origin and totally British in loyalty, language and culture. It has no wish to be incorporated at gunpoint into a Spanish-speaking state prone to alternating between fascism and chaos, and which is 480km away.
If the Falklands' community, like that of Northern Ireland, was substantially split between those wishing to be part of one state and those wishing to be part of another, then the case would be very different and a compromise solution should, and would, be found.
This case is wholly different. The islands are not, and never have been, Argentinian in any way. The Argentinian claim is morally and legally on a par with Italian dictator Benito Mussolini's claim to Abyssinia.
The proof that Argentina has no just claim is sealed by its persistent failure to take its case to the International Court of Justice in The Hague. That court would adjudicate on the claim fairly and impartially, according to public international law, which applies to the recognition of states and to disputes about their boundaries. Until Argentina has a ruling from the International Court of Justice in its favour, it should shut up.
Maurice Tracy, Central