Argentina buys Chinese fighter jets, winks at Falkland Islands

JF-17_AFPLocation of the Falkland Islands

Twenty fighter jets, to be exact. They’re called FC-1/JF-17 “Thunder” jets, and they are produced by the Chengdu Aircraft Corporation. Argentine President Kristina de Kirchner bought them last week during her three-day visit to Beijing.

What’s got everyone up in arms about the situation is that the Kirchner has long advocated reclaiming Argentine sovereignty over the Falkland Islands, and her new jets are pretty high-tec, comfortably capable of flying a round trip from Argentina to the Falkland capital and come equipped with a range of weapons including air-to-air missiles and laser guided bombs.

The Falkland Islands are currently a British Overseas Territory. The islands have been self-governing since the 2009 constitution, but the UK is responsible for foreign affairs, retaining the power “to protect UK interests and to ensure the overall good governance of the territory.”

So the UK is (not surprisingly) a little peeved about Argentina’s latest shopping spree. One British politician has called for an end to British tax payers money going to Argentina in light of the transaction, saying:

“It is an insult to veterans of the Falklands war, those who lost loved ones and the hard pressed British tax payer for this government is funding the Kirchner regime.”

The purchase of the jets reveals increasingly amiable relations between China and Argentina, as Beijing is now funding several projects in the region, including the Cepernic Kirchner dams, the Belgrano Cargas railway and the Atucha nuclear power plant.

Posted by: Hunter Carter

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