DHARAMSALA, 6 Aug: The US State Department has authorized a proposed sale of 40 self-propelled howitzer artillery systems to Taiwan in a move that is sure to irk China.
The Biden administration’s first arms sale to Taiwan includes up to 40 M109A6 Medium Self-Propelled Howitzer Systems and 1,698 precision guidance kits for munitions, spares, training, ground stations, and upgrades for Taiwan’s previous generation of howitzers, in a deal with an estimated cost of $750 million, the Pentagon has announced on Wednesday.
The Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency has further notified Congress of the proposed sale onto Taiwan as well.
Taiwan’s presidential office has thanked the US and stated that it would assist the island to maintain its defense and peace and stability in the region.
The Presidential Office Spokesperson Xavier Chang in a statement thanked the US on behalf of the government of Taiwan for fulfilling its commitments under the Taiwan Relations Act and the Six Assurances.
“By providing us with defensive weapons and helping us strengthen our self-defense capabilities, the US government is improving Taiwan’s confidence in our efforts to ensure regional security and peace in the Taiwan Strait,” Presidential Office Spokesperson Xavier Chang has said in a statement.
The Taiwanese Defense Ministry said it expected the sale to take effect after one month.
Meanwhile, China as expected has denounced the arms sale and said that Beijing will take countermeasures “based on the development of the situation.”
Taiwan has been self-governed since 1949 when Chiang Kai-shek’s Kuomintang troops fled to the island after losing China’s civil war to Mao’s Communist Party. Beijing considers Taiwan as an errant province and declared time and again that it won’t shy away from using force to bring it under its control.