China today backed Argentina's claim over the disputed Falkland islands, rejecting the validity of the referendum being held in the British-ruled territory.
"China supports Argentina's claim to the islands and expects both sides to resolve the issue through dialogue in accordance with the law," China's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told media here.
Hua said the issue is a leftover from colonialism.
She called on Argentina and Britain to resolve the issue concerning the political status of the remote islands also called the Malvinas by Argentina, in accordance with UN resolutions.
Britain and Argentina fought a brief but bloody war over the South Atlantic Ocean islands in 1982 that ended in a British victory but claimed the lives of 649 Argentine and 255 British troops.
A referendum on whether the islands will retain their political status as a British overseas territory began on Sunday morning.