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The State Department announced this week that it has approved the sale of $180 million worth of arms for Taiwan pending Congressional approval. The order is mostly comprised of Volcano anti-tank systems. Taiwan’s Defense Ministry has said that the sale should take approximately a month to complete and that the volcano mine systems would increase the country’s “asymmetric warfare” capabilities.
The announcement of the sale came days after China sent 30 aircraft into Taiwan’s airspace Monday in the largest show of force that China has conducted thus far. Taiwan’s Defense Ministry called the US’s sale of military assets to the country the “cornerstone of maintaining regional stability and peace.” The Defense Ministry cited China’s military exercises as the reason for the buildup of anti-tank systems, saying, “The Chinese Communist Party’s frequent military activities near Taiwan have posted severe military threats to us.”
American companies Northrop Grumman and Oshkosh Corporation are listed as the principal contractors for the Volcano anti-tank mine systems to be sent to Taiwan.
The purchase of the anti-tank mine system is part of Taiwan’s efforts to step up its capabilities to protect its shores from a possible Chinese invasion using amphibious landing craft.
After multiple shows of force from the Chinese PLA in recent weeks, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen vowed to increase the country’s civil defense systems saying, “The more preparations we make, the less likely there will be rash attempts of aggression. The more united we are, the stronger and safer Taiwan would become.”
The massive show of force on Monday appears to be retaliation for the US including $10 billion in loans in its 2023 National Defense Authorization Act for Taiwan to purchase US-made weapons and equipment. China has made it clear that it will keep pressure on Taiwan by conducting military exercises and drills near the island as well as sending aircraft and warships across the Taiwan Straight median line.