The State Department has approved over $2 billion in weapon sales with Taiwan, including deals for Abrams tanks and Stinger missiles.
Congress was notified Monday of the new foreign military sales, which are likely to receive condemnation from the Chinese government as the U.S. prepares for trade talks with Beijing.
Taiwan has requested to purchase 108 MIA2T Abrams under a $2 billion deal, which would also include M2 and M240 machine guns, M88 Hercules recovery vehicles and Heavy Equipment Transporter trucks.
“This proposed sale of MlA2 tanks will contribute to the modernization of the recipient’s main battle tank fleet, enhancing its ability to meet current and future regional threats and to strengthen its homeland defense. These tanks will contribute to the recipient’s goal of updating its military capability while further enhancing interoperability with the United States and other partners,” Defense Security Cooperation Agency officials said in a statement.
The State Department approved a separate $223.6 million deal for 250 Block I -92F MANPAD Stinger missiles and four Block I -92F MANPAD Stinger Fly-to-Buy missiles.
“The recipient intends to use these defense articles and services to modernize its armed forces and expand its existing air defense architecture to counter threats,” DSCA officials wrote.
Raytheon [RTN] is the prime contractor for the missile deal.
Officials on the US-Taiwan Business Council (USTBC) said in a statement the new Abrams are likely to replace the Taiwanese Army’s existing M60A3 Patton and CM-11 Brave Tiger tanks.
“These tanks and missiles will provide the Taiwan army with a modern capability to deter and complicate the operational planning of [China’s] People’s Liberation Army (PLA) forces that coerce and threaten Taiwan. They will also offer new opportunities to engage in cooperation with the United States in both the deployment and operations phases, and to maximize the effectiveness of the equipment,” Rupert Hammond-Chambers, president of the USTBC, said in a statement.
Chinese government officials have noted such a sale would be met with criticism because the country considers Taiwan a territory.
The U.S. and China are set to re-engage in trade talks following the Trump administration’s decision to withhold imposing tariffs on Beijing pending the result of upcoming negotiations.