A potential sale of anti-tank systems worth $180 million to Taiwan was approved by the U.S.
The Pentagon said on Wednesday that a possible sale of Volcano anti-tank mine-laying systems to Taiwan has been approved by The U.S. State Department for an estimated $180 million.
The prime contractors for the potential sale are Northrop Grumman and Oshkosh Corporation.
There is a requirement by U.S. law that the executive branch needs to notify Congress of potential arms sales above a certain amount. These notifications are usually made after the lawmakers have informally approved the State Department and Pentagon to move ahead.
China ramping up military, diplomatic and economic pressure on Taiwan to declare its sovereignty claims and regular Chinese air force missions near the island since past three years brings the need for this potential deal.
In a statement by Taiwan’s defence ministry, it was said that the sale would take effect in about a month and that the system would help in boosting the island’s “asymmetric warfare” capacity to make its forces more agile.
The ministry said, “The Chinese Communist Party’s frequent military activities near Taiwan have posted severe military threats to us.” The ministry also added that continuous U.S. military sales are the “cornerstone of maintaining regional stability and peace.”
The United States being the strongest international backer and main arms source of Taiwan angers China.
The self-governed country of Taiwan is claimed by China as its own territory and vows to take the island by force if the situation calls for it. Taiwan holds its ground and rejects Beijing’s sovereignty claim and says that it will defend itself if attacked.