Interest in the Falkland Islands’ dispute with Argentina, assimilated to the current Senkakus/Diayous islands situation in Asia apparently has not been limited to the quotes made by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe before the Japanese Parliament but also in another minor experience precisely in the Falklands and involving the Editor of the Penguin News, the local weekly newspaper of the Islands.
In effect, a Chinese television crew visiting the Falklands ahead of the coming March 10/11 referendum on the Islands political status and future, interviewed Lisa Watson asking her “whether the Falklands situation might be compared to that between Japan and China over a group of islands, and did I feel those countries could learn from the Falklands situation?”.
Lisa was more than surprised: “firstly at the concept that two superpowers might learn lessons from our little community and secondly because I had only the vaguest idea of the conflict to which they referred”.
However as a good professional and appealing to a vast experience, particularly from storming Argentine media trying to get on record the non precise word about the ongoing Falklands/Malvinas sovereignty dispute, Ms. Watson was able to pass the exam.
Recalling the enormous value of delegation visits to other countries for reasons of “sharing of experiences and information”, Ms. Watson was able ‘to parrot something relatively similar, if a little shakily’.
Although admitting that if she had been more than feebly informed of the conflict over the Senkaku/Diayous Islands in the South China Sea “I might still have been reluctant to voice any further opinion, having spent so many years resenting the treatment of the Falklands situation as little more than some distant academic problem, open to the opinion of any self important sod who fancied venturing one”.
The Penguin News editor then explains to readers her interpretation of the conflict as the presence of oil in the South China Sea that prompts China’s claim to the Japanese islands, and presumably this is the common factor, other than the political conflict itself, that has generated interest from both China and Japan in the South Atlantic situation (further Asian film crews will arrive in the Falklands in March).
Admitting that the reason for the Chinese crew interest in the Falklands referendum was less clear as those islands are in fact uninhabited, “ironically this again offers a comparison bearing in mind that we the Islanders are generally considered by Argentina not to ‘exist’”.
But leaving those reflections aside: “it was reassuring that the visiting journalists appeared to view the referendum as part of a viable process forward; a process that might potentially offer clarity to other countries that deal with comparable situations. And despite the Argentine government protestations that the really quite hefty gang of press visiting next month will be broadcasting nothing more than an illegal stunt, it appears that not everyone agrees”, concludes Lisa Watson’s editorial, 22 February.