Taiwan’s military said Monday that only anti-tank munitions would be included in a proposed purchase of Volcano mine-dispensing systems from the United States, after concerns were raised by opposition lawmakers.
The comments come after independent Legislator Kao Chin Su-Mei (????) charged that the arms sale risked creating a “landmine hell” similar to that experienced by post-war Cambodia.
In a press release, the Army Command Headquarters said the metal-cased anti-vehicle mines could not be accidentally triggered by people stepping on them, adding that such munitions would only be deployed in the event of war.
The Army also underlined that the sale did not breach local and international laws prohibiting the acquisition and use of anti-personnel mines.
According to the Army Command Headquarters, the military first proposed buying the U.S.-made vehicle-launched Volcano anti-tank munition-laying system back in 2018.
The command headquarters added that the main advantage of the system was its ability to rapidly deploy anti-tank mines over a large area to ward off an amphibious landing.
The proposed US$180 million arms deal — approved by U.S. State Department on Dec. 28 last year — includes vehicle-launched Volcano anti-tank munition-laying systems and M977A4 HEMTT 10-Ton cargo trucks where the system will be mounted, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) said in a statement.
According to the MND, the sale is likely to be confirmed by the U.S. Congress within the next month.
Su Tzu-yun (???), a research fellow at the Taiwan government-funded Institute for National Defense and Security Research (INDSR), dismissed concerns that the arms deal violated the U.N.’s Ottawa Treaty, given the agreement regulates the use of anti-personnel-landmines only.
In addition, the “Changes to U.S. Anti-Personnel Landmine Policy” authorized by President Joe Biden last June bans Washington from producing and exporting anti-personnel landmines, Su said.
According to Su, Taiwan could deploy the Volcano anti-tank system to the few beaches in the country suitable for an amphibious landing.
The mines themselves are defensive in nature and would delay rather than defeat an enemy advance, Su added.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel