The State Department on Wednesday approved a potential $180 million arms sale for Taiwan amid heightened tensions with China over US support for the island.
The Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said the deal was for vehicle-launched Volcano anti-tank munition-laying systems and related equipment. The primary contractors for the deal are Northrop Grumman and Oshkosh Corporation.
The State Department’s approval notifies Congress of the potential deal and begins a period during which lawmakers could attempt to block the sale. But the sale shouldn’t have any issues as there is virtually no opposition to arming Taiwan in Congress.
The potential sale comes after President Biden signed the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act, which includes $10 billion in loans for Taiwan to buy US-made arms that will be disbursed over five years. The aid is unprecedented as the US has never financed weapons purchases for the island.
Earlier this month, the State Department approved a $425 million arms sale to Taiwan for spare aircraft parts to support the island’s F-16 fighters, C-130 transport planes, and other US-supplied weapons systems.
China is opposed to any new US arms sales to Taiwan and much more strongly opposed to the new military aid. In response to Biden signing the NDAA, China launched major drills around Taiwan, citing “the escalating collusion and provocation by the United States and Taiwan.”