The United States approved a possible sale of heavy weight torpedoes to Taiwan, the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) announced in a statement. According to DSCA, the U.S. Department of State approved a possible Foreign Military Sale of 18 MK-48 Mod 6 Advanced Technology Heavy Weight Torpedoes for Taiwan in a deal estimated to cost $180 million. The announcement did not mark the finalization of a sale, but the approval of a potential sale. If finalized, the sale would mark the first U.S. arms sale to Taiwan in 2020.
According to DSCA, the specific components included as part of the sale would be 18 MK-48 Mod 6 AT HWT units, spare parts, support and test equipment, and other assorted materials. “U.S. Government and contractor engineering, technical and logistics support services; and other related elements of logistics support” are also included as part of the possible package.
“This proposed sale 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 Defense Security Cooperation Agency noted in a statement. “The proposed sale will help improve the security of the recipient and assist in maintaining political stability, military balance, and economic progress in the region.”
Announcement of the possible sale’s approval came a day following Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen’s inauguration for a second term in office. At her inauguration, Tsai rejected mainland China’s “one country, two systems” formulation, saying that Taiwan would “not accept the Beijing authorities’ use of ‘one country, two systems’ to downgrade Taiwan and undermine the cross-strait status quo.”
“Both sides have a duty to find a way to coexist over the long term and prevent the intensification of antagonism and differences,” she added.
Following her inauguration, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sent congratulations to the Taiwanese leader in a rare, high-level U.S. statement. “I would like to congratulate Dr. Tsai Ing-wen on the commencement of her second term as Taiwan’s President,” Pompeo said.
“Her re-election by a huge margin shows that she has earned the respect, admiration, and trust of the people on Taiwan. Her courage and vision in leading Taiwan’s vibrant democracy is an inspiration to the region and the world,” the U.S. secretary of state added in his statement.
The Trump administration has approved several arms sales. In 2018, it approved a sale of spare parts for Taiwanese military aircraft, including Taiwanese F-16s and F-5E/Fs. In 2019, the administration approved a sale for 108 M1A2T main battle tanks and 66 F-16C/D Block 70 fighters and associated equipment.