Taiwan wants to ensure its partners have a reliable supply of semiconductors, or “democratic chips”, President Tsai Ing-wen told the governor of the US state of Indiana on Monday, saying China’s threats meant fellow democracies had to cooperate.
A US delegation has made its third visit to Taiwan this month after Governor Eric Holcomb, a Republican, and US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi angered China, which claims Taiwan as its territory.
A week after Pelosi’s visit, five US lawmakers led by Senator Ed Markey visited Taiwan.
After Pelosi’s visit, China conducted extensive military exercises near Taiwan. Taiwan rejects Beijing’s sovereignty claims, saying only the island’s people can decide their future.
“Taiwan is facing military threats from China in and around the Taiwan Strait,” Tsai told Holcomb during a meeting in his office in Taipei.
“At this moment, democratic friends must stand together and increase cooperation in all sectors,” she added in comments made live on her social media pages.
China has yet to comment on Holcomb’s visit.
Holcomb will meet with representatives of Taiwan’s semiconductor companies as he expands ties between his state and the island, home to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), the world’s largest contact chip maker.
“Economic security is an important pillar of national and regional security,” Tsai said. “Taiwan is willing and able to strengthen cooperation with democracy partners to build a sustainable supply chain for democracy chips.”
Holcomb spoke about his state’s efforts to support the technology industry, pointing to the June announcement by Taiwan’s MediaTek Inc, the world’s fourth-largest chip designer by revenue, of a new design center in Indiana in partnership with Purdue University.
“We look forward to working with them to shape the future,” he said.
Pain for gain
Speaking to reporters later, Holcomb said Taiwan offered the world’s best high-tech talent.
“We’re dealing with supply chain pain and specifically trying to turn supply chain gains. I think the way we get there faster, in a more flexible way, is by consolidating it,” he said.
Holcomb signed a collaboration agreement between Purdue and Taiwanese electronics contract manufacturer Wistron Corp., with company president Simon Lin citing opportunities to collaborate in areas such as cybersecurity and smart factories.
Taiwan is eager to show the United States, its most important international backer, that it is a reliable ally as the global chip crunch affects auto manufacturing and consumer electronics.
Indiana has become a hub for chip technology after the signing into law this month of U.S. legislation to subsidize the domestic semiconductor industry as it competes with China and other foreign manufacturers, Tsai said.
TSMC is building a $12 billion (approx. Rs. 95,800 crore) plant in the US state of Arizona.
© Thomson Reuters 2022