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Taiwan vows to remain indispensable source of advanced chips

Taiwan will remain the world’s “indispensable and irreplaceable” source of the world’s most advanced microchips, the island’s US representative said, even as the Washington looks to ease its reliance on foreign partners for semiconductors.

Hsiao Bi-Khim, the Taiwan government’s top emissary to the US, said Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.’s move to build chip-making facilities in the US is an “important effort to further consolidate secure and stable supply chains.”

At the same time, “we still see Taiwan as indispensable and irreplaceable,” Hsiao said in an interview on Bloomberg Television with Annmarie Hordern and Joe Mathieu. “It’s taken us decades to build the ecosystem that fosters the environment for very competitive production of semiconductor chips.”

“As of now we don’t see anyone replacing that capacity that Taiwan has built over the years,” she said.

TSMC, the world’s leading chipmaker, has committed to building a $12 billion facility in Arizona with the goal of making high-end semiconductors on American soil by late 2024. But that’s been pushed back to 2025 amid concerns about high costs and the lack of a skilled labor force.

Taiwan has sought to sustain its strong relationship with the US while also making sure its place as the world’s top manufacturer of cutting-edge chips goes unchallenged. That’s been key amid rising tensions with China, which claims sovereignty over the island.

Hsiao said China is stepping up its military presence in the region and trying to use those forces in “a coercive way.”

“The bullying that aims at isolating Taiwan is something that we have to constantly struggle to push back on,” Hsiao said. “We do not intend to disrupt the status quo. I think our goal is to ensure we have enough friends so that the people of Taiwan are not alone in dealing with the challenges against our democracy and against our existence.” Bloomberg

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