The US State Department has approved a possible foreign military sale of 18 MK-48 Mod6 heavy weight torpedoes to Taiwan.
The potential purchase has an estimated value of $180 million, according to the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA).
No prime contractors have been associated with the potential sale as the torpedoes would transferred from US Navy stocks.
The approval for the sale coincided with the inauguration of president Tsai Ing-wen for a second term at the helm of the island, which China sees as a breakaway province.
“This proposed sale serves US 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 proposed sale will help improve the security of the recipient and assist in maintaining political stability, military balance, and economic progress in the region,” DSCA said in an announcement.
The US does not have diplomatic ties with Taiwan, but is bound by law to provide the island with defensive capabilities. The announced approval comes amid China’s increased military presence around the island. Since the inauguration of Tsai Ing-wen, Chinese fighter jets have entered the island’s air space, while warships have been operating in the strait separating Taiwan from the mainland.