The independent nation of Taiwan plans to buy more than 100 US tanks, along with air defence and anti-tank missile systems in a major new arms sale that could worsen frictions between the US and China.
Not that those concerns are likely to stop US President Donald Trump from proceeding with the lucrative deal. Breaking with years of protocol, Trump is more vocally supportive of Taiwan’s rights than any of his predecessors dared to be.
Taiwan’s Defence Ministry says it has submitted a letter of request for 108 cutting-edge M1A2 Abrams tanks, 1,240 TOW anti-armour missiles, 409 Javelin anti-tank missiles and 250 Stinger man-portable air defence systems.
It said on Thursday the request is proceeding ‘as normal’.
The US is the main supplier of defensive weapons to Taiwan, which China stubbornly continues to consider its own territory. That’s despite the clear will of Taiwanese citizens to remain separate from the totalitarian Communist mainland government.
The M1 Abrams would mark a significant upgrade from the ageing tanks Taiwan’s army now uses. The upgrades could prove a major deterrent to China, which has previously threatened to use military force to conquer Taiwan.
Reports have also said Taiwan is seeking 66 additional F-16 fighter jets.
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The Australian Tribune with AP