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Widening The Hiatus

Nancy Patricia Pelosi, the Speaker of the US House of Representatives, visited Taiwan on August 3, 2022, ignoring China’s objections. Although her reckless visit has deepened US-China rupture, the trip was an important one for Washington DC, diplomatically. In addition to holding several diplomatic meetings, Pelosi met Dr Mark Liu, the Chairperson of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corporation (TSMC). This Taiwanese multinational semiconductor contract manufacturing and design company controls more than half of the global semiconductor or computer chip market.

The widespread adoption of 5G technology has led to the Internet of Things or the interconnectedness of every electronic device. At the moment, the US is the biggest market of 5G technology. The usage of this technology shall gradually spread across the world, and computer chips shall be required for the successful implementation of 5G technology. As Taiwan controls the computer chips market, the US does not want the East Asian nation, situated at the junction of the East and South China Seas in the northwestern Pacific Ocean, to go under the control of China.

Nancy Pelosi (Image courtesy: CNN)

The US-based multinational technology companies are quite dependent on TSMC. Experts believe that Pelosi met Dr Mark with the desire to further strengthen bilateral tech ties in the era of Joe Biden.

If the US technology companies, like Intel, fail to import chips from Taiwan, then the Biden Administration may come under pressure. Again, China’s forced annexation of Taiwan would undermine the US interests. Hence, Pelosi’s visit can be considered as a desperate attempt by Washington DC to manage its domestic technology market.

Meanwhile, the visit has prompted Beijing to increase military activity around Taiwan. Immediately after Pelosi left Taiwan, the Asian giant started conducting defence exercises in the area adjacent to Taipei. The state-run Global Times reported that Beijing deployed more than 100 fighter jets, as the People’s Liberation Army of China conducted exercises around Taiwan. China’s state-of-the-art new generation aerial refueling YU-20, too, took part in the drill.

Recently, the US, Australia and Japan urged China not to trigger fresh tension in the Indo-Pacific Region by holding military exercises. However, Beijing ignored the request, making it clear that China would never allow the US to back Taiwan. Beijing has been claiming that Taiwan belongs to China for a long time. The top political leadership in Beijing has sent a strong message to Taipei, saying that Taiwan should join China voluntarily, otherwise it would be done by force (if necessary).

Courtesy: Hindustan Times

Although the US and its Western allies have strongly criticised China for planning to use military might against Taiwan, the situation in the Indo-Pacific is constantly deteriorating.

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