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Chilean and Peruvian generals meet amid rumors of military build-up

Source: Santiago Times

Military officials meet in Lima as rumors abound of increased arms and activity on either side of the border, while the two nations wait for news from The Hague.

Annual talks between Chilean and Peruvian military officials continued this week as signs of simmering tensions begin to emerge between the Andean neighbors. Rumors of increased military activity are circulating on both sides of the border ahead of an international court ruling on a territorial dispute between the two parties expected in the coming months.

military_2Representatives of the Chilean Army traveled to Lima for the start of the IV Bilateral Meeting taking place through Friday. The team will meet with the head of the Peruvian military police to discuss military justice and policy in an annual meeting that this year is truly multilateral. The two countries will be joined by representatives from Colombia and the United States.

The slogan of the international conference is, “Shared principles for military justice in the service of security and peace.”

Military leaders say they intend to work toward standard classification of crimes to which military justice may be applied, and compliance with international law.

Aggressive rumors

This gathering of military officials comes as local press has suggested a possible military build up between Chile and its northern neighbor as the two Andean countries wait for the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to hand down a decision in their maritime dispute.

Peru brought the case to The Hague in 2008, which addresses the sovereignty of fishing waters off the coast of both countries. Peru claims 14,500 square miles of the valuable maritime territory, which Chile says it received through treaties in 1952 and 1954. The court proceedings closed in December and the ICJ is expected to hand down its ruling in the coming months.

Despite the many public meetings between Chilean and Peruvian officials in which both sides emphasize the strong relationship between the states and their continuing insistence that this will not be affected by the court’s ruling, rumors have recently surfaced telling a different story.

One in-depth article from Chilean newspaper El Mostrador, claimed Peru is increasing its military and naval capacities ahead of the decision. This allegation comes just months after two submarines were detected off Chile’s coast. The official report from the Chilean forces denied that they were from any neighboring country.

The rumors continue to the other side of the border, with the Peruvian press claiming Chile is ramping up military personnel and simulation drills. However, officials from the Chilean armed forces said any military activity near its northern border is simply routine.

“It should be noted that Chilean Army maintains permanent training and scheduled preparation, according to its normal annual plan, which has not been amended by the imminent decision of the International Court of the Hague,” a spokesperson for the armed forces told The Santiago Times.


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