By Sean Hanrahan
The Biden Administration is set to approve its first weapons sale to Taiwan according to White House sources. The deal is expected to include self-propelled artillery vehicles such as the 40 M109A6 “Paladin” self-propelled howitzer. The deal is expected to be executed within three years with deliveries ranging from 2023 to 2025.
Taiwan’s defense minister Chiu Kuo-Cheng has said that the country is yet to receive official confirmation from Washington. The United States has sent an official delegation to Taiwan. The US government states that the purpose of the visit is an evaluation of regional security and post-pandemic cooperation. “I can say with confidence that the United States’ partnership with Taiwan is stronger than ever”, said Chris Dodd, a former senator who was in attendance.
According to the United Daily News, a newspaper associated with the right-wing Pan-Blue coalition, talks began under the Trump administration, however, complications arose around the logistics of the sale of the M982 Excalibur guided missiles. The paper also noted that Swedish experts were opposed to the sale.
However, with Republic of China still claiming Taiwan as its territory, the threat of the Chinese seizing them is present. If the Republic of China’s army receives the weapons, they will replace the current older models. The most recent artillery models, the M109A2 and M109A5 operated by the Army, are 21 years old. The new M982 Excalibur shells would expand the Republic of China’s Army’s artillery range to 25 miles. Taiwan is the largest recipient of US Arms. Deals between the two states have totaled 11.8 billion dollars in 2020. Taiwan continues its developments of conventional weapons, however, the government has stressed its support for asymmetric warfare techniques.