The U.S. announced the sale of a volcano anti-tank mine-laying system to Taiwan even though not a single mine has been planted on Taiwan since World War II. Opposition lawmakers say the sale would turn Taiwan into a "land mine island," while the Army says it is very unlikely any Taiwanese soldiers would be injured or killed by the system.
Opposition lawmakers say Taiwan has no use for the volcano anti-tank munition-laying system the U.S. recently announced it was selling to Taiwan at a price tag of US$180 million since no mines have been planted on Taiwan since World War II. The U.S. says the system's emplacement area, operation time and protective armor capabilities can delay a PRC invasion of Taiwan. Whether Taiwan will turn into a "land mine island" in the future is now a hot-button political issue.
Wang Ting-yu, Legislator (DPP): “The reasons they are giving for why they oppose this do not reflect reality in any way. The only thing that will happen from their opposition is that China's PLA will have an easier time invading Taiwan.”
Most but not all of the DPP's lawmakers support the sale. Su Tzu-yun of the Institute for National Defense and Security Research says the Volcano is a new weapon in asymmetric warfare as it doesn't have to be operated manually, is visible to the naked eye and has a self-destruct function. However, another expert says the PLA is air- and sea-focused and the government needs to seriously consider whether the Volcano is something Taiwan really needs right now.
Lin Ying-yu, Assistant Prof., Graduate Institute of International Affairs and Strategic Studies, TKU: “When the PLA attacks us, they will seal off the sea and the air routes first and then fire missiles at us. This will lead to the use of land mines and that sort of weaponry later on in the war.”
In a press release, the Army said the Volcano being purchased is brand new and a model that is currently in use by the U.S. and there is very little chance of Taiwanese soldiers being injured or killed by it. In addition, the military will carefully plan where and when to use it during wartime and will also put up warning signs to keep soldiers and citizens from accidentally removing mines.