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Taiwan thanks US for Howitzer artillery systems

August 5, 2021

US Congress has yet to approve the arms deal. It also includes munition, spares, training, ground stations, and upgrades for Taiwan's previous generation of Howitzers.

Taiwan Soldaten bedienen eine US Haubitze
Image: Getty Images/AFP/S. Yeh

The United States approved the potential sale of 155 millimeter M109A6 medium self-propelled Howitzer artillery systems to Taiwan in a deal valued at up to $750 million (Є634 million) on Wednesday.

The package also includes precision guidance kits for munition; spares, training and ground stations; and upgrades for Taiwan's previous generation of Howitzers.

Taiwan's foreign ministry expressed "sincere gratitude" to the US State Department in a statement, saying it would help maintain "regional peace and stability." The Pentagon notified Congress of the deal on Wednesday, but it is yet to receive approval.

"Faced with China's continuing military expansion and provocations, our government will boost national defense and security with an unwavering determination to defend people's lives and our free and democratic way of living," the statement said.

Movable Howitzers would enable Taiwan to direct fire at incoming troop ships and shell landing beaches.

US support to Taiwan

Independently ruled Taiwan is under the threat of invasion from China, especially since President Xi Jinping has ramped up military pressure. Beijing claims ownership of the territory. 

Like most countries, the US has no formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan. However, Washington is one of Taiwan's most important supporters, and due to a congressional act is required to provide the island with the means to defend itself.

Last year, the US had provided Taiwan with drones and coastal missile defenses. 

Former US President Donald Trump had increased arms sales to Taiwan, as his relationship with Beijing was strained. While President Biden has been more open towards cooperation with China, he has maintained the previous administration's policies towards Hong Kong, Xinjiang, and Taiwan.

tg/aw (AFP, Reuters)