LIMA, Peru — Historical tensions between Chile and Peru are on the rise ahead of a keenly awaited ruling on the South American nations’ disputed maritime frontier.
The latest source of friction has been a leaked draft of Santiago’s national defense strategy, published in Peru, in which Chilean President Sebastian Pinera warns that his country must be ready for armed conflict.
Chile “is not exempt from seeing itself wrapped up in an international crisis or even being the object of armed aggression toward it territory,” Peruvian newspaper La Republica quoted from the document, titled National Security and Defense Strategy 2012-2014.
“Therefore the country needs to count on a credible capacity for deterrence, tailored to act in its legitimate defense,” the text adds.
That might sound like boilerplate bureaucratic wording from almost any government regarding its defense planning. But it has struck a nerve in Peru, where a historical and sometimes bloody rivalry with Chile remains deeply embedded in the national psyche.
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