Taiwan is in discussions to purchase advanced weapons from the United States in what may become the first arms sale to the self-ruled island under President Joe Biden’s administration, military officials confirmed on Monday.
Taiwanese Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng on Monday confirmed that the island has been in talks about the purchase for some time, but Washington has not formally notified Taipei about whether the deal will proceed.
According to the Taiwanese news website udn.com, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency of the U.S. Department of Defense will soon notify Congress about the planned sale of the M109A6 howitzer and M982 Excalibur artillery shells. If approved, the weapons will be delivered to Taiwan in phases between 2023 and 2025, the report added.
The island is also seeking to buy long-range air-to-surface AGM-158 missiles from the U.S, said Lee Shih-chiang, Taiwan’s defense ministry official in charge of strategic planning.
The M109A6 is more advanced, with GPS and an automatic firing control system, than the older A2 and A5 variants of the M109 family now issued to Taiwan’s army.
The U.S. is planning to replace the A6 model with the newer A7, which will have upgraded digital and navigation systems.
Meanwhile, Australian media reported earlier that Canberra would join forces with Washington to deal with possible military conflicts in the Taiwan Strait.
Chiu said Taiwan welcomed any help and efforts to maintain peace in the strait.
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