According to the Pentagon, the US State Department has approved the potential sale of 40 155mm M109A6 Medium Self-Propelled Howitzer artillery systems to Taiwan in a deal worth up to $750 million.
This follows a series of arms sales last year, including drones and coastal missile defences aimed at improving the island’s capabilities and discouraging a Chinese invasion. Since taking office, the Biden administration has approved additional direct commercial sales of arms to Taiwan.
According to the Pentagon, the package would include the howitzers, 1,698 precision guidance kits for munitions, spares, training, ground stations, and upgrades for Taiwan’s previous generation of howitzers.
On Wednesday, the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency informed Congress of the potential sale.
In a statement issued on Thursday, Taiwan’s defence ministry expressed “sincere gratitude” to the US government, saying the sales would help its ground forces improve their “capacity for quick reaction and fire support.”
The ongoing US arms support, according to the ministry, is a “basis for maintaining regional stability.”
To Beijing’s chagrin, the US has no formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan but is required by law to provide the Chinese-claimed island with the means to defend itself and is its most important international backer.
Despite State Department approval, the notification does not indicate that a contract has been signed or that negotiations have ended.
The weapons were built by BAE Systems Plc (BAES.L), according to the Pentagon.