Stanley is capital of the Falkland Islands (Picture: Alamy).
Falklands

Foreign Secretary defends Falklands' sovereignty as China backs Argentina's claim

In a statement, China said Argentina should be able to "fully exercise its sovereignty over the Malvinas (Falklands) Islands issue".

Stanley is capital of the Falkland Islands (Picture: Alamy).

Liz Truss has defended the Falklands as "part of the British family" after China backed Argentina's claim over the South American islands.

The Foreign Secretary tweeted that "China must respect the Falklands' sovereignty" after Argentinian president, Alberto Fernandez, met with China's President Xi Jinping.

According to a statement on London's Chinese Embassy website, the two leaders 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 President Fernandez backed President Xi's one-China policy, which claims Taiwan as its own.

The statement said Argentina should be able to "fully exercise its sovereignty over the Malvinas (Falklands) Islands issue".

Ms Truss said: "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."

Chen Weihua, a journalist for China Daily, an English-language newspaper owned by the Chinese Communist Party, replied to Ms Truss to say: "But it's okay for UK to challenge China's sovereignty in the South China Sea by sending navy vessels?

"At least China has not sent its navy near the Malvinas, or what you call the Falklands."

Last month, the official Twitter profile of the Argentine Embassy to the EU posted a series of claims about the Falkland Islands, including a tweet that said: "The Malvinas Islands are an integral part of the Argentine national territory."