The US State Department has approved the potential sale of $750 million in weapons and equipment to Taiwan so that the island nation can deter a possible Chinese invasion.
The agreement includes 40 155mm Howitzer artillery systems, 20 field artillery ammunition support vehicles, five M88A2 Hercules vehicles, and upgrades for Taiwan’s previous generation of howitzers. The country will also purchase five Chrysler Mount .50 caliber machine guns and over 1,600 precision guidance kits for munitions.
Last year, the US sold drones and coastal missile defenses to Taiwan to bolster the island’s military capabilities amid growing tension with China. The Chinese Communist Party views the island as part of its territory, even vowing to eventually unify the smaller nation with the mainland, using force if necessary.
According to the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), the sale serves the national, economic, and security interests of the US by supporting Taiwan to modernize its military and develop a credible defensive capability.
“The proposed sale will help improve the security of the recipient and assist in maintaining political stability, military balance, and economic progress in the region,” DSCA said in a press release, adding that the agreement will not alter the balance of power in the region.
Taiwan Thanks US
Upon learning of the arms sale approval, the Taiwanese government expressed its gratitude to the US for continuing to honor its commitment to furnishing Taiwan with state-of-the-art defensive weapons and equipment.
Presidential Office spokesperson Xavier Chang said the proposed deal with the Biden administration “fully demonstrates the US government’s high regard for Taiwan’s defense capabilities.”
Meanwhile, Taiwan’s defense ministry believes that continued US arms support provides a “basis” for maintaining regional stability.
‘Sending the Wrong Signal’
With the multimillion arms sale between the US and Taiwan all but guaranteed, China has vowed to retaliate against Washington over its approval of the agreement, saying that it would take legitimate and necessary counter-measures.
A Chinese spokesperson said the development sends an erroneous signal to Taiwanese independence forces and severely jeopardizes China-US relations. He also stated that the arms sale negatively affects peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.