America is still sending Arms to Taiwan, despite lingering tensions with China. According to reports from the Taiwanese government, Taipei issued formal requests for four separate arms packages to the U.S.
Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense (MND) said that the requests were issued following “a foreign media report” that Washington was inclined to approve the sales and would insure a quick delivery.
The war machines Taiwan is seeking from the United States are substantial. The requests include 108 M1A2 Abrams tanks, 1,240 BGM-71 TOW anti-tank missiles, 409 FGM-148 Javelin surface-to-air missiles and 250 FIM-92 Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, according to a MND statement.
This is certainly quite the order of weapons and ammunition. Indeed, reports that Taiwan waited to receive a green light from the U.S. government makes sense, considering their intended purchase includes the firepower of a small army. The “foreign press release” alluded to by the MND was most likely a Reuters article from earlier this week which claimed the United States is pursuing the sale of more than $2 billion worth of tanks and weapons to Taiwan.
A standard feature of America’s foreign policy for decades has been its support for the Taiwanese people. However, the question has for long been if this support is in spite of, or because of, China’s animosity toward the island nation. There is little doubt that the Trump administration has used America’s support for Taiwan as a means of signaling to China it means business. Similarly, with these latest weapons sales, there is more than just the effort to bolster Taiwan’s military. It is also sending a message to Beijing: America is still sending arms to Taiwan, and will not abandon its principles in the South Pacific.