If Taiwan were attacked, the global economy would face devastation, as that is where most of the world’s semiconductors are produced, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Sunday.
In an interview that aired on the 60 Minutes television program, Blinken was asked whether instability across the Taiwan Strait would be felt around the world.
Blinken said that China has been increasingly aggressive against Taiwan, posing a threat to peace and stability in the region, while economically the world would feel the effects of such aggression.
Photo: screen grab from CBS
Blinken was interviewed for the program after meeting with Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi (王毅) on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York on Friday.
The US has invested heavily in its semiconductor capacity, with US firms designing chips that are primarily produced in Taiwan, he said.
“Taiwan itself, were anything to happen, it is where virtually all the semiconductors are made,” Blinken said. “If that’s disrupted, the effects that that would have on the global economy could be devastating.”
In an interview that aired on the previous Sunday on the same program, US President Joe Biden said that the US would defend Taiwan “if in fact there was an unprecedented attack.”
It was the fourth time Biden implied the US would help Taiwan, although each time it has been followed by a clarification from administration officials who seemed to walk back his comments.
When Blinken was asked whether Wang requested clarification of Biden’s remarks when they met, he said they had a conversion about the two approaches toward Taiwan.
“I reiterated what the president has said, and what he’s said clearly and consistently — our continued adherence to the ‘one China’ policy, our determination that the differences be resolved peacefully,” Blinken said.
“Our insistence that peace and stability be maintained in the Taiwan Strait, and our deep concern that China was taking actions to try to change that status quo. That’s what the issue is,” he said.
The US has over the past few decades maintained a stance characterized as “strategic ambiguity” regarding whether it would aid Taiwan’s defense in the event of an attack by China.
Washington has traditionally been deliberately vague about whether the US would do more than provide Taiwan with weapons, as per the Taiwan Relations Act, and send troops to fight China.
The act became law in 1979 to maintain commercial, cultural and other unofficial relations between the US and Taiwan after Washington switched diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing.
The act requires the US to “provide Taiwan with arms of a defensive character.”
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