ejinsight: Washington is pursuing the sale of more than US$2 billion worth of tanks and weapons to Taiwan, in a move likely to cause fresh tensions with China, Reuters reports, citing people familiar with the negotiations.
The potential sale includes 108 General Dynamics tanks as well as anti-tank and anti-aircraft munitions, sources were quoted as saying.
An informal notification of the proposed sale has been sent to the US Congress, according to the report.
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen said in March that the US was responding positively to Taipei’s requests for new arms sales to bolster its defenses in the face of pressure from China.
The US has no formal ties with Taiwan, but is bound by law to help provide it with the means to defend itself.
The new arms sale initiative comes as China and the United States are engaged in a fierce trade war, with clashes over Taiwan and the South China Sea exacerbating tensions.
The congressional notifications included a variety of anti-tank munitions including 409 Raytheon and Lockheed Martin-made Javelin missiles, sources told Reuters.
In addition, the notifications included 1,240 TOW anti-tank missiles and 250 stinger missiles.
In 2018, The Trump administration rolled out a long-awaited overhaul of US arms export policy aimed at expanding sales to allies, saying it would bolster the American defense industry and create jobs at home.
Last week, the Pentagon announced that it will sell 34 ScanEagle drones, made by Boeing, to the governments of Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam. The drones would afford greater intelligence gathering capabilities potentially curbing Chinese activity in the region.
Acting US Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore last weekend that America would no longer “tiptoe” around China’s behavior in Asia.
Source: Published by ejinsight