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Chile is Buying Tanks After Fighters
Chilean Armaments Policy Worries Neighboring Countries
Antonio Jose Lopez Rengifo (proyecto)     Print Article 
Published 2005-12-31 08:12 (KST)   
Everything is in place for Chile to receive the first 100 Leopard 2 tanks from Germany in partial fulfillment of an agreement between Chile and Germany that will eventually comprise 200,a Chilean press reported.

Chile has currently over 200 Leopard 1 state-of-the-art tanks from Germany, as well as 60 AMX-30 Tanks from France, and 150 M-41 from the United States, armaments purchased in the 1980 and 1990s.

Leopard 2 A5 main battle tank
The Leopard 2 is one of the most up-to-date battle tanks in the world. These tanks are similar to the M-1 Abrams Main Battle Tank, which has figured in the Iraq War.

Lately, Chile bought 18 used F16 fighter planes for US$130 million from Holland in a deal authorized by the U.S. and is negotiating with Holland for another 18 F-16s and AMRAAM (tactical air-to-air) missiles.

In February 2002 Chile had already acquired 10 new F16 fighters from the U.S. in a deal that included modernization of those fighter planes.

Chile also bought four Dutch destroyers, three British destroyers and two new Scorpion submarines from France recently.

Foreign analysts have said that Chile is seeking hegemonic military power in Latin America vis-a-vis Peru, Argentina and Bolivia in order to defend Chilean economic interests in those countries and, in case of armed conflict, to expand its territory in the way it has done in the past.

AMX 30 main battle tank
Chile fought the War of the Pacific against Peru and Bolivia from 1879 to 1883, winning Bolivia's Pacific coastline and extensive areas from Peru.

Chile sold arms to Ecuador during a 1995 war with Peru, despite Chile's acting as one of the guarantors of peace between the two countries.

Peru and Chile are currently involved in a fishing rights dispute. Peru alleges that the fishing zone agreement currently in force, which dates from the 1950s, reduced its zone by 40,000 square kilometers and is asking for a fairer deal in the apportionment, which Chile has always refused.

Bolivia claims sovereignty over the coastline it lost to Chile in the Pacific War, but the countries still cannot agree.
©2005 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Antonio Jose Lopez Rengifo

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