Latest US-Taiwan arms sale slammed, ‘will face mainland countermeasures’
Published: Dec 29, 2022 10:34 PM
Soldiers assigned to a brigade under the PLA 73rd Group Army fire at mock enemy at night in real-combat training on November 16, 2022. Photo: China Military

Soldiers assigned to a brigade under the PLA 73rd Group Army fire at mock enemy at night in real-combat training on November 16, 2022. Photo: China Military

The US announced another batch of arms sales to the island of Taiwan on Wednesday, featuring anti-tank mine-laying systems, a type of weapon that can be used to slow down potential amphibious landing operations from the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA). However, the PLA is well-equipped with minesweeping equipment, including robots, that can nullify these threats, and the latest US-Taiwan collusion will face resolute countermeasures from the Chinese mainland, experts said on Thursday.

The US State Department has approved the possible sale of Volcano anti-tank mine-laying system to Taiwan for an estimated $180 million, the Pentagon said on Wednesday, Reuters reported.

According to media on the island of Taiwan, the sale includes the M136 Volcano Vehicle-Launched Scatterable Mine System and M977A4 HEMTT 10-Ton cargo trucks where the system will be mounted.

Developed in the 1980s by the US Army, the system uses prepackaged mine canisters that contain multiple anti-personnel and/or anti-tank mines that can be placed over large areas, said media reports on the island.

Citing the island's defense authority, the reports said that the equipment can boost the island's asymmetrical warfare capabilities, as it can provide more efficient anti-tank mine placement thanks to its high mobility.

The mine-laying system can be considered as anti-amphibious landing equipment to be deployed in coastal and beach regions, as it can quickly create mine fields that slow down armored vehicles from advancing, Wei Dongxu, a Beijing-based military expert, told the Global Times on Thursday.

But the PLA has already commissioned many types of amphibious minesweepers, including unmanned ones, that are capable of quickly clearing mine fields, so the PLA is fully capable of dealing with the Volcano, Wei said.

On Sunday, the PLA organized large-scale military exercises around the island of Taiwan following the signing of the US National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023 on December 23 that enables the US government to finance weapons for the island of Taiwan.

The military operations of the PLA around the island of Taiwan are aimed at "Taiwan independence" secessionist moves and interference from external forces with the goal of safeguarding national sovereignty and territorial integrity, said Senior Colonel Tan Kefei, a spokesperson for China's Ministry of National Defense, at a regular press conference on Thursday.

The PLA will act wherever secessionists attempt to split the country, Tan said.

In addition to the PLA's targeted exercises that deter secessionist and external interference forces, the Chinese mainland can also sanction US arms dealers involved in the sale, Wei said.

Northrop Grumman and Oshkosh Corporation are the prime contractors for the latest potential sale, Reuters reported.