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China's Sale Of Fighter Jets To Argentina Raises Tensions Over Falkland Islands

By | Feb 16, 2015 09:54 PM EST
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China and Argentina

In July, Argentina and China signed multibillion-dollar deals which included during a visit by President Xi Jinping. The deals include infrastracture-financing and currency-swap agreement.(Photo : REUTERS)

China sold some of its fighter jets to Argentina, causing existing tensions in the South Atlantic to rise because of concerns that Argentina would attempt to reclaim the Falkland Islands.

The sale of the military jets came after Argentine President Kristina de Kirchner visited Beijing last week for a three-day appointment to seal 15 economic deals with Chinese President Xi Jinping. The deals aimed to strengthen the partnership between the two countries.

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Beijing is reportedly helping Argentina in terms of financial investment in order to reinforce the already failing economy of the country.

The Falkland Islands has been one of the main concerns of Kirchner as she has always appealed to the international community for support in having the islands returned to Argentina. The procurement of the 20 fighter jets from China will hopefully help them regain control over the said islands.

The fighter jets, FC-1/JF-17 models, were produced by the Chengdu Aircraft Corporation. The features are high-end, with a top speed of Mach 1.8 at 55,000 ft above ground. The combat range is at 840 miles and the jets are equipped with a range of weapons such as air-to-air missiles and bombs guided by lasers.

China has also pledged £162billion in form of investments and loans in Latin America through 2020. Beijing has agreed to disregard the loans of Latin American countries in the past in order to let them rebuild their economy with no hindrances.

The financial aid of China to Argentina includes military equipment to assist the latter's air force which has been crippled in the last 18 months. The country previously wanted to buy aircraft from Israel, Spain and Russia but deals have not been sealed with the said countries.

According to the latest reports, Argentina has recently abandoned its talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin regarding the purchase of 12 Sukhoi Su-24 'Fencer' bombers because of concerns regarding post-sale maintenance.

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