Argentina’s Pro-Beijing Deal With the Devil

News Analysis Argentina President Alberto Fernández signed a deal with the devil at the Beijing Winter Olympics on Feb. 6. Argentina will join China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), recognize China’s claims over democratic Taiwan, take another $23.7 billion in loans for Chinese infrastructure development, and again publicly threaten the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands, along with derecognition of Taiwan. Somehow all these bad things for Argentina, which will only push it away from wealthy democracies in North America and Europe, are being portrayed as a good thing by Fernández. Argentina already owes over $268 billion in external debt, so Buenos Aires is digging its hole deeper and threatening to become even more of a pariah by cleaving closer to Beijing on the Falklands and Taiwan issues. On Feb. 2, Argentina gave China another plum: agreement to let China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) build a power plant in the country. It’s hard to explain Fernández’s actions without them reminding of the $1.2 billion in corruption allegations faced in 2019 by his running mate and former president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. She is a powerful vice-president, and staunchly pro-Beijing. The new agreement comes in the context of veiled military threats against both Taiwan and the Falklands. In November, a top Chinese scholar suggested that the Falklands “colonial situation … can only be solved by force.” All of this should be resolutely opposed. Britain and its allies, including the United States, should strengthen their ties to the Falklands, make joint commitments to the defense of the islands, and consider a joint North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) base to supplement—both symbolically and materially—their primary British defenses. And as John Penrose argued in December, the Falklands should receive a seat in the British parliament, guaranteeing their stability and cementing their permanent status within the United Kingdom. The United States, European Union, and allies should take stronger measures to stop China’s BRI project, including potentially through joint economic sanctions on countries that join. The outrageous claims by China and Argentina on the Falklands should be answered, not only by British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, but by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, a joint U.S.-UK-Falklands statement, defense agreements between the three entities, including NATO as a whole, and preparations for increased international troop deployments on a rotational basis. Argentina and its apparent ally, China, should never be allowed to think that another war over the islands would be fought by Britain alone. To achieve peace with China, we must project strength and commitment to the military defense of every last inch of democratic territory globally. These moves should obviously be at the invitation of Britain and the Falkland Islanders themselves, who should be in the lead as it is their sovereignty to defend. NATO support to Britain and the Falklands would not in any way put into question the current status of the Falklands as a British overseas territory. As such, the islanders have self-government, with the singular benefit of a defense guarantee from Britain’s powerful global military. But the Falklands’ current anemic military forces of just 1,000 British troops, and Britain’s history of fighting alone against Argentina to keep the Falklands independent, must be corrected so that Argentina and China don’t get the wrong idea. The Falklands were not and will not be easy picking for the world’s dictators and their illiberal allies. Whether or not China’s navy tried to support Argentina in a war to conquer the Falklands, Britain’s NATO allies should offer their military and other support in the contingency of conflict. Any illusion that Argentina or China has that the fight would be solo against Britain alone must be publicly denied and materially demonstrated in the clearest and highest possible manner. There should be no room for misjudgement in Beijing or Buenos Aires that could lead to war. That they would even consider such an option is unconscionable given that in 2013, 99.7 percent of Falkland Islanders voted to stay British. Islanders celebrate after the announcement of the referendum’s result in Port Stanley, Falkland Islands, on March 11, 2013. Falkland Islanders made clear their staunch desire to remain British despite Argentina’s sovereignty claims. Only three votes out of 1,517 were cast against the islands remaining British. (Tony Chater/AFP via Getty Images) China and Argentina’s continued statements against the will of the voters in the Falklands reveal their power-hungry and undemocratic approach to global politics. We must do more to disabuse them of their illusions that as leftists and neo-Maoists, they can make “progress” on the “right side of history” through the use of force. Truss, who is also the minister for Women and Equality, made a pitch-perfect state

Argentina’s Pro-Beijing Deal With the Devil

News Analysis

Argentina President Alberto Fernández signed a deal with the devil at the Beijing Winter Olympics on Feb. 6.

Argentina will join China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), recognize China’s claims over democratic Taiwan, take another $23.7 billion in loans for Chinese infrastructure development, and again publicly threaten the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands, along with derecognition of Taiwan. Somehow all these bad things for Argentina, which will only push it away from wealthy democracies in North America and Europe, are being portrayed as a good thing by Fernández.

Argentina already owes over $268 billion in external debt, so Buenos Aires is digging its hole deeper and threatening to become even more of a pariah by cleaving closer to Beijing on the Falklands and Taiwan issues. On Feb. 2, Argentina gave China another plum: agreement to let China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) build a power plant in the country.

It’s hard to explain Fernández’s actions without them reminding of the $1.2 billion in corruption allegations faced in 2019 by his running mate and former president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. She is a powerful vice-president, and staunchly pro-Beijing.

The new agreement comes in the context of veiled military threats against both Taiwan and the Falklands. In November, a top Chinese scholar suggested that the Falklands “colonial situation … can only be solved by force.”

All of this should be resolutely opposed. Britain and its allies, including the United States, should strengthen their ties to the Falklands, make joint commitments to the defense of the islands, and consider a joint North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) base to supplement—both symbolically and materially—their primary British defenses.

And as John Penrose argued in December, the Falklands should receive a seat in the British parliament, guaranteeing their stability and cementing their permanent status within the United Kingdom.

The United States, European Union, and allies should take stronger measures to stop China’s BRI project, including potentially through joint economic sanctions on countries that join.

The outrageous claims by China and Argentina on the Falklands should be answered, not only by British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, but by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, a joint U.S.-UK-Falklands statement, defense agreements between the three entities, including NATO as a whole, and preparations for increased international troop deployments on a rotational basis.

Argentina and its apparent ally, China, should never be allowed to think that another war over the islands would be fought by Britain alone. To achieve peace with China, we must project strength and commitment to the military defense of every last inch of democratic territory globally.

These moves should obviously be at the invitation of Britain and the Falkland Islanders themselves, who should be in the lead as it is their sovereignty to defend. NATO support to Britain and the Falklands would not in any way put into question the current status of the Falklands as a British overseas territory. As such, the islanders have self-government, with the singular benefit of a defense guarantee from Britain’s powerful global military.

But the Falklands’ current anemic military forces of just 1,000 British troops, and Britain’s history of fighting alone against Argentina to keep the Falklands independent, must be corrected so that Argentina and China don’t get the wrong idea. The Falklands were not and will not be easy picking for the world’s dictators and their illiberal allies.

Whether or not China’s navy tried to support Argentina in a war to conquer the Falklands, Britain’s NATO allies should offer their military and other support in the contingency of conflict. Any illusion that Argentina or China has that the fight would be solo against Britain alone must be publicly denied and materially demonstrated in the clearest and highest possible manner. There should be no room for misjudgement in Beijing or Buenos Aires that could lead to war.

That they would even consider such an option is unconscionable given that in 2013, 99.7 percent of Falkland Islanders voted to stay British.

Epoch Times Photo
Islanders celebrate after the announcement of the referendum’s result in Port Stanley, Falkland Islands, on March 11, 2013. Falkland Islanders made clear their staunch desire to remain British despite Argentina’s sovereignty claims. Only three votes out of 1,517 were cast against the islands remaining British. (Tony Chater/AFP via Getty Images)

China and Argentina’s continued statements against the will of the voters in the Falklands reveal their power-hungry and undemocratic approach to global politics. We must do more to disabuse them of their illusions that as leftists and neo-Maoists, they can make “progress” on the “right side of history” through the use of force.

Truss, who is also the minister for Women and Equality, made a pitch-perfect statement on Feb. 6 against China and Argentina’s agreement. “We completely reject any questions over sovereignty of the Falklands,” she said in a Tweet. “The Falklands are part of the British family and we will defend their right to self determination. China must respect the Falklands’ sovereignty.”

Chen Weihua, China Daily’s EU bureau chief, responded with a veiled military threat. “But it’s okay for [the] UK to challenge China’s sovereignty in the South China Sea by sending navy vessels?” he said. “At least China has not sent its navy near the Malvinas, or what you call the Falklands.”

Chen likely hopes, in vain it should be said, that we will fall for his threats and false equivalencies. The current residents of the Falklands can trace their ancestry on the islands to the 18th century, and have a right to choose their own governance. Conversely, the South China Sea has been used since ancient times by all nations in the area, who have rightful claims to large exclusive economic zones that Beijing is trying to steal.

The hypocrisy and self-dealing of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in Latin America is obscene and must be ended. It’s time to push back against Beijing’s racist focus on “colonialism,” which only and hypocritically singles out European migrants even where they, along with other “races” if you believe in race as anything but a construction, stretch back to the 17th and 18th centuries.

Migrants, including those of European ancestry who Beijing derogatorily refers to as “colonialists” in what is really anti-democratic propaganda, have a right to the vote and self-governance, as does everyone else. The world is full of migrants, and Beijing and its allies (like Burma against the Rohingya) targets them in a biased, racist, and self-interested manner at their own expense.

The best path forward is to recognize and support ethnic and cultural diversity, democracy, human rights, and individual freedoms like property and religion, all of which are found in the 1948 U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and all of which are global values violated by the CCP and its autocratic allies on a daily basis. These values, which Americans share with their allies globally, should be the cornerstone of building toward peace and justice for all.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.