The U.S. government has approved another round of military aid to Taiwan amid increasing pressure from communist China, which claims the self-governing island democracy as part of its territory.
The State Department on Friday approved the sale of about $108 million worth of spare and repair parts for tanks and other combat vehicles along with federal and contractor technical and logistic support, according to the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), which has notified Congress of the possible sale.
The sale is “consistent with U.S. law and policy” and “serves U.S. national, economic, and security interests by supporting the recipient’s continuing efforts to modernize its armed forces and to maintain a credible defensive capability,” the DSCA said in a statement.
In a statement, Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said the proposed sale will “strengthen our defense capabilities and maintain regional peace and stability.”
U.S. officials said the sale will help sustain Taiwan’s military vehicles, small arms and combat weapons systems. It also will enhance interoperability with the U.S. and other allies.
“The recipient will have no difficulty absorbing this equipment and support into its armed forces,” the DSCA said. “The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.”
The U.S. is required by law to provide Taiwan with the military means to defend itself, but Democratic and Republican administrations have traditionally followed a policy of “strategic ambiguity” over whether they would intervene with force to protect Taiwan in the event of an attack by Beijing.