The governor of the US state of Arizona has commenced a trip to Taiwan focused on procuring critical chips which is the main cause of the heated tech crisis between the United States and China.
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey is expected to meet Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen as well as business leaders and university representatives in the semiconductor industry during his three-day visit to the self-ruled island.
Ducey, who landed in Taiwan on Tuesday, is the latest US politician to travel down to the self-ruled island, after recent trips by US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb and several other US senators.
The visits have drawn an angry reaction from Beijing, which sees Taiwan as a province that must be “reunified” with the Chinese mainland by force if needed.
During his trip to Taiwan, Ducey is seeking to get suppliers for a new $12bn semiconductor plant being built in Arizona by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp (TSMC), the world’s largest supplier of the critical chips used in almost all electronic devices.
The governor will then move to South Korea, where he is expected to meet South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol and business leaders later in the week.
“Arizona has excellent relationships with Taiwan and the Republic of Korea,” Ducey disclosed embarking on the trip.
“The goal of this trade mission is to take these relationships to the next level — to strengthen them, expand them and ensure they remain mutually beneficial.”
Taiwan creates more than half the global supply of high-end processor chips, and Washington is disturbed that the US is overly reliant on the island and other Asian suppliers.
Concerns about the global supply of semiconductors have been heightened by shortages during the COVID-19 pandemic and China’s aggressive reaction towards Taiwan. Beijing carried out unprecedented military operations close to the island in response to Pelosi’s visit, interrupting shipping and air traffic and highlighting the potential vulnerability of the global supply chain for semiconductors.
In July, the US Congress passed legislation promising $52bn in grants and other aid to develop the domestic semiconductor industry and a 25 percent tax credit for investors in US-based chip factories.
Washington has also rallied its support for Taiwan, although it does not see the island as an independent country.