The U.S. State Department's approval of a possible sale to Taiwan of "big ticket" weapons at an estimated value of $2.2 billion is likely to be seen as a symbolic move that makes sense for both Taipei and Washington as they grapple with an increasingly assertive China.

The sale of the weapons requested by Taiwan, including 108 General Dynamics Corp. M1A2T Abrams tanks and 250 Stinger missiles, "will not alter the basic military balance in the region," the Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a statement released Monday.

The DSCA notified U.S. Congress the same day of the impending arms sale, which it said could also include mounted machine guns, ammunition, Hercules armored vehicles for recovering inoperative tanks, heavy equipment transporters, as well as related support.