The Biden administration on Wednesday gave the nod for its first potential arms sale to Taiwan, a deal worth up to $750 million that is likely to further stoke tensions with China.
The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said the sale of 40 155mm M109A6 Paladin Medium Self-Propelled Howitzer System and related equipment has been approved.
“This sale serves US national, economic, and security interests by supporting the recipient’s Taiwan] continuing efforts to modernize its armed forces and to maintain a credible defensive capability,” read a DSCA statement.
“The sale will help improve the security of the recipient and assist in maintaining political stability, military balance, economic and progress in the region.”
During former President Donald Trump’s tenure, Washington signed defense deals worth $18 billion with Taiwan.
The US sold weapons worth over $4 billion to Taiwan last year, further straining its already tense relations with Beijing, which views the deals as violations of the “One China Policy.”
Beijing claims the island nation of Taiwan as a “breakaway province,” while Taipei insists it has been independent since 1949.
Since taking office this January, President Joe Biden has also sent high-level delegations to Taipei for discussions focused on economic and defense relations.
“The sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region,” the DSCA statement said.
Washington will also dispatch “support teams” to Taiwan “on a temporary basis” for personnel training and related issues, it added.