Latin America is no longer what US politicians call their backyard. Over the years they became part of the map when the great power decided to trade and sell its military hardware to these countries. However, this disengagement trend away from the US by Latin American countries is marked by the Alberto Fernández government of Argentina planning to buy the Chinese JF-17 fighters.

The Argentine Embassy in China said that the South American country is considering procuring the JF-17 aircraft, with Chinese analysts saying on Wednesday that the fighter jet jointly developed by China and Pakistan is the best choice for Argentina in terms of performance and availability Global Times reported.

Argentine Ambassador to China Sabino Vaca Narvaja recently held a work meeting with Argentine Defence Minister Jorge Taiana and his team in Buenos Aires to promote cooperation with China in the field of national defence, the embassy said in a social media post on Weibo on Tuesday.

During the Airshow China 2022 held in Zhuhai, South China's Guangdong Province, Narvaja spoke with representatives from the China National Aero-Technology International Engineering Corp about the possibility of Argentina procuring the third-generation JF-17 aircraft jointly developed by China and the Pakistan Air Force, the embassy said.

Other defence cooperation with China includes the possible procurement of 8x8 armoured vehicles from Chinese arms firm NORINCO, according to the post.

Fu Qianshao, a Chinese military aviation expert, told the Global Times on Wednesday that Argentina has long been seeking to procure new fighter jets to replace its aging and shrinking warplane fleet, but because of the issue of the Malvinas Islands, the UK has blocked Argentina's aircraft procurement attempts on the international market.

The UK can lobby Western countries not to sell through diplomatic means, and it can also deter countries like South Korea and India, because their fighter jets use UK parts, including ejection seats, Fu said.

China's position on the issue of the Malvinas Islands is consistent, and China firmly supports Argentina's legitimate claim to exercise full sovereignty over the Malvinas Islands, the Chinese Foreign Ministry and the Chinese Embassy in the UK stated last year.

That is why the JF-17 is the most available fighter jet to Argentina, Fu said.

According to public information, the JF-17 has developed into three generations, often referred to as the Block-1, the Block-2 and the Block-3.

The Block-3 is equipped with very advanced systems including an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, a combination of China's top beyond-visual-range and short-range missiles, as well as avionics and flight control systems. The previous blocks are less costly but still perform well, analysts said.

But any deal depends on Argentina's decision, Fu said.