The U.S. State Department has approved the potential sale of Volcano anti-tank mine-laying systems to Taiwan for an estimated $180 million, the Pentagon said Wednesday.

Taipei's de facto diplomatic mission in the United States had requested the vehicle-launched systems and other equipment amid increasing threats from China.

Taiwan's Defense Ministry expressed "sincere gratitude" to the department for the approval in a Twitter post.

The U.S. Defense Department notified Congress of the possible sale on Wednesday as required by law. Arms firms Northrop Grumman and Oshkosh Corp. will be the sale's principal contractors.

"The proposed sale will improve the recipient's capability to meet current and future threats by providing a credible force capable of deterring adversaries," a Pentagon statement read.

Self-ruled Taiwan has come under increasing military threat from China, which regards the island as a breakaway province it seeks to reunify with the mainland, by force if necessary.