The Sun newspaper has published a full-page advert in an Argentinian paper warning the country’s president to keep her “hands off” the Falkland Islands.
• Advert in retaliation to letter published in UK press by Argentinian president
• Referendum to be held into future of Falklands in March
It follows an open letter from Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, published as an advert in the Guardian and reported in other UK papers, in which she called for the islands to come under Argentine sovereignty.
Prime Minister David Cameron has said the residents of the Falklands must decide their own future, with a referendum on the islands’ political status to be held in March.
The Sun’s response to Ms Kirchner - printed in English language paper the Buenos Aires Herald - refers to the 649 Argentine and 255 British military personnel killed in the invasion of the islands 31 years ago.
The advert - printed in Spanish and English - claims Argentina’s invasion was in “direct conflict” with the UN principle of self-determination.
It describes claims that Argentina was stripped of the islands as “unfounded” and points out that British sovereignty dates back to 1765.
The advert concludes: “The islands have never been governed by or formed part of the sovereign territory of the Republic of Argentina.
“Until the people of the Falkland Islands choose to become Argentinian, they remain resolutely British.
“In the name of our millions of readers and to put it another way: ‘HANDS OFF!”’
Argentina’s president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner demanded the UK hands the territory over to her country.
Ms Fernandez called on the UK to abide by a 1965 United Nations resolution on the islands which called for a negotiated settlement.
The move by Ms Fernandez follows heightened tensions last year over the future of the Falklands when she asked a UN committee on decolonisation to look at the case for the islands being handed to Argentina.
While experts have dismissed fears of another invasion, there have been questions about whether the UK could retake the islands as it did after the Argentine invasion in 1982 because the Royal Navy will not have an aircraft carrier until 2020.
Argentina’s claim over the islands has been renewed since oil exploration began in its waters. In a letter published as a full-page advert in some British newspapers yesterday, Ms Fernandez claimed the UK’s continued control of the islands was “a blatant exercise of 19th- century colonialism”.
Argentina has claimed it inherited ownership of the islands from Spain, arguing that Britain occupied the islands by force in 1833 and expelled settlers, violating Argentina’s integrity.
A Foreign Office spokeswoman said Falkland islanders “are British and have chosen to be so”.
“They remain free to choose their own futures, both politically and economically, and have a right to self-determination as enshrined in the UN charter,” she added.
“This is a fundamental human right for all peoples. There are three parties to this debate, not just two as Argentina likes to pretend. The islanders can’t just be written out of history.”
A spokesman for the Falklands Islands government said: “We are not a colony – our relationship with the United Kingdom is by choice.”
The latest row comes after celebrations last year to commemorate the 30th anniversary of British forces retaking the islands after the Argentine invasion.
Mr Cameron’s decision to mark the day by flying the Falklands flag from Downing Street provoked fury in Argentina and he and Ms Fernandez clashed publicly when they met at a later date in the UN.
During the exchange, the Prime Minister rejected Ms Fernandez’s demands for negotiations over the sovereignty of the islands and told her she should respect the result of a referendum.