Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) chairman Mark Liu (劉德音) said in an interview with CNN on Sunday that a Chinese invasion of Taiwan would render the company’s plants inoperable, and that such a war would produce “no winners.”
Not only would Taiwan’s economy be destroyed in a cross-strait conflict, but the impact “would go well beyond semiconductors, and would bring about the destruction of the world’s rules-based order and totally change the geopolitical landscape,” Liu said in the interview, according to the Central News Agency.
Bloomberg columnist Hal Brands wrote on June 24: “A major war over Taiwan could create global economic chaos that would make the mess produced by Russia’s war in Ukraine look minor by comparison, for reasons going far beyond the nation’s crucial position in semiconductor supply chains.”
Brands said that fighting in the region would disrupt critical shipping lanes, and would result in accelerated decoupling of the US and Chinese economies. This could be followed by blockades, sanctions and seizing of each other’s assets.
US Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen on April 6 confirmed Brands’ speculation in part when she said that the US would use all of its sanctions tools against China should it attack Taiwan.
Such sanctions would appear to have the support of the US public. A recent survey showed that a majority favored providing support to Taiwan in the event of a cross-strait conflict, with even those wavering on US military involvement supporting the severing of commercial ties with China, Morning Consult Holdings reported on Friday last week.
Beijing might have thought that sanctions imposed following an attack would be limited in scope, given the interdependence of the world’s largest economies. However, sanctions on Russia by the US and Europe — which is weaning itself off Russian energy — have shown otherwise. The effect of those sanctions has made it less capable of helping China in such an event by making up for other markets.
Russia’s economy is predicted to shrink by 10 percent this year, and Moscow has defaulted on its foreign debt. The country is unable to buy semiconductors, key auto parts such as transmission boxes and airbags, and other items that Russia is not easily able to make itself, economist Rachel Ziemba and journalist Adrian Ma said in a June 29 interview on National Public Radio’s The Indicator.
That last point relates to Liu’s comments regarding TSMC. China makes microchips, but it still relies on imports for the most advanced chips from Taiwan and South Korea. Liu said an invasion of Taiwan would render TSMC unable to produce chips “because of the extreme sophistication of TSMC’s plants, which require a real-time connection with partners across the world on matters ranging from raw materials and chemicals to spare parts and software.”
South Korea would also likely cut off the chip supply to China to comply with global sanctions on Beijing. Cutting off China and Russia from advanced microchips would put these allies at a major technological disadvantage.
There is no question that China would face crippling sanctions as a response to attacking Taiwan. Its economy would be left in tatters, but it might even face military action from nations concerned about the strategic impact of an attack on Taiwan.
A delegation by former Japanese defense officials arrived on Wednesday last week for four days of talks with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and other senior officials to discuss Taiwan-Japan security exchanges. The talks clearly spooked officials in Beijing, as they had their propaganda mouthpiece, the Global Times, write an op-ed the day after the delegation’s arrival to claim that Japan had nefarious intentions.
China needs no reminding that an attempted invasion of Taiwan — even if successful — would come at an insurmountable cost.
When Beijing says “Taiwan has always been an inalienable part of China” and calls this “an indisputable legal and historical fact,” it promotes a claim that has absolutely no basis in international law or history. But by aggressively stating that claim time and again over the years, it has made many in the world believe that fiction, especially when the dominant Western media outlets are reluctant to challenge the Chinese narrative. Indeed, some international publications now use the phrase “reunify” without quotation marks while referring to Beijing’s Taiwan goal. The truth is that Taiwan, for most of its history, had no relationship
When Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) in 2022 unveiled plans to begin building a new chip fabrication facility in Japan and start production this year, it looked like an implausibly aggressive schedule. Chip plants often take three years to complete, and, although the firm had moved faster on its own turf, this would be its first such attempt in Japan — where it would have to navigate foreign bureaucracies and regulations. However, on Saturday, TSMC officially opened its Kumamoto fab, putting it on track to begin mass production later this year. The ribbon cutting marks an early victory for Japan as
At a gathering held by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the Chinese State Council during this year’s Spring Festival, Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) reviewed the achievements of the past year. “Good scenery on this side only” (風景這邊獨好), he said about the global situation. The phrase comes from late Chinese leader Mao Zedong’s (毛澤東) poem Qing Ping Le (清平樂), written when he lost power in 1934. It was full of the “Ah-Q” (阿Ｑ) spirit of self-deception. Did Xi not know about this history, or was it a trap laid by his aides? Originally, the Third Plenary Session of the 20th Central
When I was in Ukraine filming for an upcoming documentary, I was surprised at how frequently my mind naturally tended to map Ukraine’s war experience onto Taiwan, where I have lived for the past 10 years. There are obvious parallels of an imperial nuclear superpower asserting itself over a smaller non-nuclear state, but there are also small mundane things that would impact everyday life. When I saw Ukrainian elderly people filling jugs of water at a church in sub-zero temperatures and hauling it back to their homes which might not have electricity, I imagined the difficulty of a Taiwanese senior