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Why was it important to keep the Falklands? Watch

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    (Original post by paul514)
    They did threaten that as the post that follows yours says.


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    They threatened that during the negotiation which was initiated by the UK. China didn't ask for Hong Kong out of the blue, threatening to take it by force.

    And remind me again how is any of these relevant to my using Hong Kong as an example of a British territory the UK gave away without a referendum, or indeed how is this relevant to my pointing out the fact that it's incorrect to say the UK didn't have full legal ownership of Hong Kong or that not all of Hong Kong was supposed to be a lease?
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    Economics isn't all that matters, you know.

    The people who live there wanted to remain a British territory (and still do). They did not want to become part of Argentina, especially not due to a hostile invasion and a questionable, centuries-old claim by the Argentinians.

    Argentina attacked, so Britian defended its people and territory. It was simply the right thing to do in response.
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    Because the people of the Falklands wanted to remain part of Britain.
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    (Original post by Redefine)
    Why didn't we just give it to Argentina? No patriotic nonsense please, there must be some economic reason.
    Look at the position before 1982. The British government would have cheerfully given the Falklands away if the inhabitants could have been persuaded to go along with it. However, they couldn't and it would have been unthinkable to have given their homeland away without the agreement of a majority of the population. The government had to have regard for the positions of Gibraltar and most importantly Northern Ireland. What might happen in Belfast if the Unionists didn't believe the UK government was committed to NI. So, the government had no strategy but to keep talking to Argentina with no objective in view other than that of the Kelpers changing their minds. The problem was that the position with Argentina was going from bad to worse. Argentina had become a military dictatorship and Argentina was making life economically difficult for the Falklanders whereas the UK government wanted the Falklands to be more and more economically tied to Argentina so that the Kelpers would see that their interests lay in a deal (joint sovereignty, sale and leaseback, whatever) with Argentina.

    When the Argies invaded, the government had no choice. On that Saturday when the Commons met (it was broadcast on radio, no television then) , if Thatcher hadn't be willing to fight, the government would have fallen that day.

    There were too many in Parliament who had fought fascist dictators before. Her deputy and her foreign secretary both held the Military Cross for WWII service. The deputy leader of the Labour Party had been the beachmaster at Anzio. Her Lord Chancellor had voted in the Norway debate to bring down Chamberlain.

    Looking back over 30 years, it was clearly the right thing to do. The shameful act from that period wasn't the Falklands, it was the Labour government's response to Cyprus. We were the guarantors of Cypriot independence. We were in the same position towards Cyprus in 1974 as we were to Belgium in 1914 and we should have told Turkey that unless they withdrew we would fight.
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    (Original post by Little Toy Gun)
    UK gave Hong Kong to China without ever giving the people a referendum and indeed any consultation on any part of the arrangement.
    True, but that was following an agreement where China lent Hong Kong to Britain for 99 years, after which it would become Chinese.
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    (Original post by james813)
    True, but that was following an agreement where China lent Hong Kong to Britain for 99 years, after which it would become Chinese.
    Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and Stonecutters' Island were ceded in perpetuity. Only the New Territories were the subject of a 99 year lease.

    However those treaties formed part of a wider series of international treaties with numerous states, including the UK, which have generally been abandoned by their beneficiaries and tacitly acknowledged to be unfair to China. The UK would have been left without international support on the issue if the UK had tried to insist on maintaining the lands ceded in perpetuity after 1997.

    Moreover the non-permanent nature of the UK interest in Hong Kong was long acknowledged by the fact that unlike virtually all other colonies, the local landholding system was leasehold not freehold.
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    The answer to the OP's question is really simple.

    The Falkland Islands were sovereign British territory, inhabited by British citizens.

    A fascist military dictator might have thought he could get away with invading them and giving the Falkland Islanders the choice of emigration or living under fascism, but he hadn't reckoned with Margaret Thatcher.

    A mistake that ended up costing him not only the Falklands but also his whole regime.

    Apologies if that is too "patriotic" for you, OP.
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    (Original post by james813)
    True, but that was following an agreement where China lent Hong Kong to Britain for 99 years, after which it would become Chinese.
    It was a treaty with a "China" that was already dead with no surviving relatives.

    There was absolutely no legal obligation for the UK to hand Hong Kong to China, a regime that was established more than a century after the UK took Hong Kong.

    Thus, Hong Kong was a British territory that was given away without a referendum.
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    (Original post by nulli tertius)
    Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and Stonecutters' Island were ceded in perpetuity. Only the New Territories were the subject of a 99 year lease.

    However those treaties formed part of a wider series of international treaties with numerous states, including the UK, which have generally been abandoned by their beneficiaries and tacitly acknowledged to be unfair to China. The UK would have been left without international support on the issue if the UK had tried to insist on maintaining the lands ceded in perpetuity after 1997.

    Moreover the non-permanent nature of the UK interest in Hong Kong was long acknowledged by the fact that unlike virtually all other colonies, the local landholding system was leasehold not freehold.
    There were obviously practical reasons why the UK wouldn't just hand New Territories to the Chinese, but that was not the point. My point was that it was a British territory that was given away without a referendum - do you agree on this point? People then started saying it's different because UK had a legal responsibility - the treaty was not recognized by China so once again the UK had no legal responsibility since the other signatory "died" and there's no owners left.

    This is without mentioning the fact that Hong Kong doesn't have to be under either British or Chinese sovereignty - the US would've supported a self-determination referendum, and indeed US congress at that time was drafting a bill on that (but was abandoned because there was little local demand for independence).

    Also, your last paragraph isn't entirely accurate. 1. Not all lands are on a lease in Hong Kong, there's some notable exceptions; 2. the landholding system is still leasehold but this doesn't mean China acknowledged that Chinese interest in Hong Kong is of a non-permanent nature.
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    (Original post by CoolCavy)
    It was mainly to boost Thatcher's popularity in the upcoming elections and to distract the British people from the austerity at home, i.e to give them something to 'get behind' as can be seen by the media's reaction of 'Gotcha' etc which was the Sun's reaction when the HMS Belgrano (an Argentine ship) was sunk.
    But the whole reason for the war in the first place was the actions of Galtieri, the Argentine dictator who launched the war to unite his country in support of him and to distract from problems at home. So he was the one who started it for popularity reasons, not Thatcher.
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    (Original post by RF_PineMarten)
    But the whole reason for the war in the first place was the actions of Galtieri, the Argentine dictator who launched the war to unite his country in support of him and to distract from problems at home. So he was the one who started it for popularity reasons, not Thatcher.
    yes but the thread title is asking why it was important to keep the Falklands from which i inferred that OP was asking why it was important for Britain to keep them (i.e for Thatcher popularity reasons) as Britain already had them not Argentina. The thread isnt asking why the war started but why Thatcher retaliated, similar but with subtle differences.
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    The possibility of oil nearby
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    (Original post by Little Toy Gun)
    There were obviously practical reasons why the UK wouldn't just hand New Territories to the Chinese, but that was not the point. My point was that it was a British territory that was given away without a referendum - do you agree on this point?
    Of course that is obvious


    People then started saying it's different because UK had a legal responsibility - the treaty was not recognized by China so once again the UK had no legal responsibility since the other signatory "died" and there's no owners left.
    That doesn't follow. The fact that China did not recognise the Treaty did not mean that there was no China. The PRC claims to be the successor state to the ROC and the Empire. That is the basis of its claim to Tibet.

    This is without mentioning the fact that Hong Kong doesn't have to be under either British or Chinese sovereignty - the US would've supported a self-determination referendum, and indeed US congress at that time was drafting a bill on that (but was abandoned because there was little local demand for independence).
    That was unachievable as it is for Gibraltar.

    The reality is that the sheep in the Falklands would not have cared, indeed did not care when the Argies invaded. The position would not have been the same with Hong Kong's bankers. Stability required a deal long before 1997.
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    (Original post by nulli tertius)
    That doesn't follow. The fact that China did not recognise the Treaty did not mean that there was no China. The PRC claims to be the successor state to the ROC and the Empire. That is the basis of its claim to Tibet.
    A successor state that didn't recognize the treaty as valid. Said successor state claimed Hong Kong to be a part of its territory, but did not recognize that it was legally leased to the UK for a certain period of time.

    If you have read my earlier comments, you would know what my position is:
    China could ask for it at any time, before, in, or after 1997, but their claim would not be that "we signed a contract and you promised to give it back in 1997" but rather "you took it from me ages ago, I never agreed to it, and you should give it back to me".

    There is no legal obligation for the UK to give it to China under the treaty in 1997 - or are you indeed arguing that the UK had a legal responsibility even though there wasn't any other signatory?

    (Original post by nulli tertius)
    That was unachievable as it is for Gibraltar.

    The reality is that the sheep in the Falklands would not have cared, indeed did not care when the Argies invaded. The position would not have been the same with Hong Kong's bankers. Stability required a deal long before 1997.
    Is any of these relevant?

    Does any of these counter my claim that Hong Kong was an example of a British territory that was given away without a referendum?

    Does any of these counter my claim that there was no legal responsibility for the UK to hand Hong Kong to China in 1997 when the lease that was recognized only by the UK was up?

    I wasn't even saying Hong Kong would be independent. It wouldn't have in any case. Had there been a referendum, the people would've voted for Chinese sovereignty. Independence would probably come third after British sovereignty. But none of these matter either, because my response was to your saying there wouldn't have been international support any other way - there would have been, as demonstrated by the fact that US Congress was drafting a bill to support Hong Kong's right to self-determination, only abandoned after learning there's no local appetite for independence.
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    (Original post by Little Toy Gun)
    A successor state that didn't recognize the treaty as valid. Said successor state claimed Hong Kong to be a part of its territory, but did not recognize that it was legally leased to the UK for a certain period of time.

    If you have read my earlier comments, you would know what my position is:
    China could ask for it at any time, before, in, or after 1997, but their claim would not be that "we signed a contract and you promised to give it back in 1997" but rather "you took it from me ages ago, I never agreed to it, and you should give it back to me".

    There is no legal obligation for the UK to give it to China under the treaty in 1997 - or are you indeed arguing that the UK had a legal responsibility even though there wasn't any other signatory?


    This argument is just wrong as a matter of international law. Domestic law between private individuals is not always a reliable guide to international law but here it provides a reasonable analogy:

    You "Your father lent me his lawnmower"

    Me "No he didn't. You stole it"

    You "Because you don't accept he lent me the lawnmower, that means the lawnmower is mine"

    The argument is nonsense. The key thing is your (the UK's) acknowledgement of lack of title. Once you acknowledge the title of another (Imperial China) you have to show abandonment by anyone you (the UK) acknowledges as successor. That successor (PRC) does not have to acknowledge your title, they only need not to have abandoned their own claim.
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    (Original post by Little Toy Gun)
    UK gave Hong Kong to China without ever giving the people a referendum and indeed any consultation on any part of the arrangement.
    Because the lease ran out. There were zero grounds for retaining it.
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    (Original post by Little Toy Gun)
    Wrong.

    1. The lease was on the New Territories, not the rest of Hong Kong.

    2. The People's Republic of China has no legal claim to Hong Kong, as Republic of China (Taiwan) is Qing's (signatory) successor state, and the Republic of China still exists (and indeed Taiwan still claims to own all of China, Hong Kong, Macau, and most of Mongolia and other territories).

    3. Ever if you consider PRC to be the successor to RoC, PRC still has no claim. PRC, officially, does not recognize any of those treaties; RoC, on the other hand, does.

    So to say the handover was done due to a contractual obligation is like saying the UK was obliged to act on a treaty that wasn't signed or recognized by the other party. Chances are that, without Thatcher's insistence to talk about Hong Kong beyond 1997, China would likely have chosen to not say anything, at least not in the 80s. Once the UK raised the question, the circumstances forced China to not back down in the same way the Argentines left the UK no choice but to go to war for the Falklands.
    Hong Kong is unsustainable without the New Territories, especially with a power like China making it clear that they would recognise the treaties which ceded HK & Kowloon to Britain in perpetuity.

    And the Chinese had been making statements (and headway) on reagaining HK since getting its seat on the UN in the early '70s. It's nothing short of ridiculous to say that China would not have asked for it back, and that the UK offered it unilaterally!
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    (Original post by Little Toy Gun)
    i simply provided an example of a British territory that was given away without a referendum, and later to tell the two of you there was indeed not a treaty to keep. This is not about where Hong Kong should or should not go, or what I want.
    China had successfully had HK removed from the UN list of occupied territories requiring consultations for independence during the '70s. It was a different case and a referendum would not have had any significance.
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    (Original post by Little Toy Gun)
    The fact of the matter is, China didn't ask for Hong Kong before the UK approached them on the matter.
    Demonstrably wrong. From a Chinese statement to the UN in 1972.
    "The questions of Hong Kong and Macau belong to the category of questions resulting from the series of unequal treaties which the imperialists imposed on China. Hong Kong and Macau are part of Chinese territory occupied by the British and Portuguese authorities. The settlement of the questions of Hong Kong and Macau is entirely within China's sovereign right and do not at all fall under the ordinary category of colonial territories. Consequently they should not be included in the list of colonial territories covered by the declaration on the granting of independence to colonial territories and people. With regard to the questions of Hong Kong and Macau, the Chinese government has consistently held that they should be settled in an appropriate way when conditions are ripe."
    In other words, "well take them back how and when we want to".

    Hardly the position of a government not interested in regaining control without the UK's permission.
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    (Original post by Little Toy Gun)
    This is without mentioning the fact that Hong Kong doesn't have to be under either British or Chinese sovereignty - the US would've supported a self-determination referendum, and indeed US congress at that time was drafting a bill on that (but was abandoned because there was little local demand for independence).
    Irrelevant, as China had HK removed from the UN list of colonies eligible for self-determination. From the early 1970s, HK was always going to go back to China. The only questions were when and how.
 
 
 
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