US ‘chip war’ puts Taiwan’s semiconductor sector in tough position
Published: Mar 16, 2023 10:58 PM
Illustration: Chen Xia/Global Times

Illustration: Chen Xia/Global Times

As the US' ill-intentioned chip war against China escalates, some American elites have become increasingly hysterical. The US would destroy Taiwan's semiconductor factories rather than letting them fall into the Chinese mainland's hands, Business Insider reported on Wednesday, citing a former national security advisor.

Robert O'Brien, a former national security advisor, is not the first to raise the idea, the report said, adding that two US scholars also recommended the move in a paper published by the US Army War College in 2021.  

Given the strategic significance of the chip industry, it comes as no surprise that recent media reports have created great concern, and, to calm the situation down, O'Brien later toned down his previous rhetoric, attempting to hype Chinese mainland's threat. However, O'Brien's efforts have only a limited effect. Some analysts still believe his intention is to emphasize Taiwan's semiconductor sector's strategic significance and shouldn't let cutting-edge semiconductor technology fall into the Chinese mainland's hands.

In recent years, the US has consistently emphasized the need to diversify global supply chains, using "protecting supply chain security" as an excuse for promoting its "decoupling" theory, but clearly, it has gone too far and thus fallen into an obsession with containing China. 

Renewed concerns about whether the US will destroy Taiwan's semiconductor factories and what losses Taiwan's chip industry will suffer expose US hypocrisy and selfishness, as well as the cruelty and destructiveness of the chip war.

The battle over chips only serves the geopolitical interests of the US, while any country or region can become the victim of Washington's selfishness. 

As for the island of Taiwan, US' ill-intentioned chip war has become a dangerous game, during which Washington will not hesitate to hijack Taiwan's semiconductor manufacturing sector as cannon fodder for the US' own interests. Threatening words toward Taiwan's semiconductor factories are kind of economic fascism. The real objective is to induce local firms to relocate and hollow out Taiwan, and if the island's semiconductor sector cannot be put into US' pocket, some US politicians would rather destroy everything.

Serving the interest of the selfish and arbitrary US, Taiwan island's Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authorities are utterly shameful. Not only do they offer no resistance to US' behavior of threatening Taiwan's semiconductor industry, they act proactively, encouraging semiconductor factories to relocate in the US, and trying to use Taiwan's semiconductor industry as leverage to win support from the US, with their words and actions full of servility to Washington.

The DPP authorities may think Taiwan's semiconductor manufacturing sector is a trump card that can be used to advance its secessionism. While the separatist authorities on the island are keen to woo the US to get more involved in politics, society and economy, catering to Washington's ill-intentioned chip war is tantamount to inviting wolves into the house. The collusion between the US and the Taiwan secessionists may pose a threat to Taiwan's semiconductor sector.

The idea of "destroying Taiwan's semiconductor factories" sounds crazy and may be to some extent exaggerated, but the hysteria which has gripped a growing group of politicians has sounded the alarm to a situation that collusion between the US and the Taiwan secessionists is dangerous and may push the island's semiconductor sector to the edge of the cliff. 

Taiwan's semiconductor industry plays a significant role in the global semiconductor industrial chain. However, it needs to be pointed out that the Taiwan economy will reach a dead end without connectivity with the mainland. The mainland has over the past decades encouraged trade and economic exchanges with the island of Taiwan, including keeping preferential policies in some fields. The reason why Taiwan's semiconductor sector can enjoy advantage in the global industrial chain is, to a certain extent, because of cross-Straits trade bonds that won't be easily severed.

With an export-oriented economy, Taiwan is heavily dependent on exports for its economic development. Some may hope to decrease Taiwan's economic reliance on the mainland, but at a time when the mainland has become an engine of global economic growth, it's impossible for Taiwan to be isolated from the mainland economy. This is especially true in Taiwan's semiconductor manufacturing industry.

In terms of the semiconductor industry, supply chain in Taiwan and the mainland has become integrated following years of economic and trade exchanges. The US and Taiwan secessionists may want to weaponize Taiwan's semiconductor manufacturing sector, but that will be futile in the end.

The author is a reporter with the Global Times.