The Trump administration has approved selling Abrams tanks and Stinger missiles to Taiwan, a major potential arms sale that is bound to irk Beijing and comes as the administration seeks to negotiate a major trade agreement with China.
Congress was notified Monday that the State Department had approved both potential sales, which include 108 M1A2T Abrams tanks, plus related equipment, and some 250 Stinger missiles.
Both types of equipment had been requested by Taiwan.Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen said in March that the weaponry she had requested from Washington would “greatly enhance our land and air capabilities, strengthen military morale and show to the world the US commitment to Taiwan’s defense.”
In response, China’s Defense Ministry said Beijing was “firmly opposed to US arms sales to Taiwan and US military contact with Taiwan.
“The tanks are valued at up to $2 billion while the portable surface-to-air Stinger missiles are estimated to cost up to $223 million.
The Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency said that the tank sale serves “US national, economic, and security interests by supporting” Taiwan’s “continuing efforts to modernize its armed forces and to maintain a credible defensive capability.”
The agency also said that the Stinger missile sale would improve the security and defensive capability of Taiwan, which it called “an important force for political stability, military balance, and economic progress in the region.”