The potential sale comes midst China flexing its muscles in the region, especially in the South China sea.
In a significant development, despite facing stinging criticism from China, the U.S. State Department has approved the potential sale of M1A2T Abrams tanks, Stinger missiles and related equipment with an estimated value of $2.2 billion, to Taiwan.
When the potential deal first appeared in the media, China’s Foreign Ministry was quick to react saying, it was seriously concerned about U.S. arms sales to self-ruled Taiwan.
According to the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency, the sale of these weapon systems to Taiwan, would not alter the basic fabric of military balance in the region.
On Monday, the DSCA had notified the U.S. Congress of the possible arms sale, saying it includes Hercules armored vehicles for recovering inoperative tanks, mounted machine guns, ammunition, heavy equipment transporters and related support.
China views Taiwan as a renegade province and has not ruled out the use of force to bring the island nation under its control.
Taiwan’s Presidential Office expressed “sincere gratitude” to the U.S. government for the arms sale.
“Taiwan will speed up investment on defense and continue to deepen security ties with the United States and countries with similar ideas,” said Chang Tun-han, a spokesman for Taiwan’s president, in a statement.
Confirming the potential sale, Taiwan’s Defense Ministry stated, it had requested the weapons and that the request was proceeding normally.
According to its statement, the United States is commited to provide Taiwan with weapons to defend itself and helps Taiwan’s military raise its combat abilities, ensures Taiwan’s security and consolidates the Taiwan-U.S. security partnership.