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  • (soft instrumental music)

  • - I'm reporting from Taiwan

  • where this island is increasingly becoming a focal point

  • between US and China tensions.

  • I'm going to take you to three places

  • to explain how the competitions between the two superpowers

  • from the tech to the military

  • could determine the future of this place.

  • But first, a little history about why Taiwan

  • is so important to China.

  • This island was where the Chinese Nationalist Party fled

  • after its military defeat at the end

  • of the Chinese Civil War in 1949.

  • (dramatic instrumental music)

  • Today, Taiwan holds democratic elections,

  • uses a different passport, and has its own distinct flag.

  • And while some politicians here

  • support closer ties with Beijing,

  • many people have grown uncomfortable with that idea.

  • This, our first stop, the capital of Taiwan, Taipei.

  • Here growing numbers of young Taiwanese

  • supports closer ties with the US

  • over closer relations with China.

  • (warm instrumental music)

  • (woman speaking in foreign language)

  • - Security experts say this kind of statement

  • could mean military actions that puts the US into conflict.

  • And recently there has been a lot more military activity

  • in the strait between the island and Mainland China.

  • - This is the Strait of Taiwan.

  • "The Wall Street Journal" will tell you

  • of how many Chinese warplanes were in the region

  • using information from Taiwan's Defense Ministry

  • and would find that in 2020,

  • China sent about 380 warplanes to this region.

  • But this year there were already about 290 warplanes.

  • (dramatic instrumental music)

  • US officials and former Taiwanese military leaders

  • say Taiwan will need to do more

  • to be able to fend off an invasion from China,

  • especially since China has about 100 times

  • as many ground force personnel as Taiwan.

  • China's annual military budget is also 25 times larger.

  • So in an attempt to fill the gap,

  • last year Taiwan increased the military spending by 10%

  • and has been purchasing weapons from the US.

  • But some military analysts say

  • it's not in China's interest to attack.

  • The seas are rough, and Taiwan's coastline

  • make it difficult for a warship to land.

  • Most importantly, an invasion could prompt

  • a military response from the US which would likely escalate.

  • But if not a military conflict,

  • Taiwan provides at least one more area of competition

  • between the US and China.

  • Behind me is the headquarters of TSMC,

  • the world's largest contract chip maker.

  • Its chips ends up in our smartphone and laptop,

  • but now because of a global chip shortage,

  • Taiwan is becoming more important to the US and China.

  • That's because TSMC controls more than 90% of the market

  • for the most advanced semiconductors.

  • (dramatic instrumental music)

  • TSMC has tried to walk the line between China and the US,

  • but the tension between these two countries

  • has made this difficult, especially after Washington

  • restrict Chinese telecom giants Huawei's access to TSMC

  • over national security concerns.

  • The Trump administration has instructed American supplier

  • to stop working with TSMC

  • if it kept exporting chips to Huawei.

  • (dramatic instrumental music)

  • To reduce its dependence on Taiwan,

  • China has made chip manufacturing a priority.

  • So has the US with a commitment of $15 billion

  • to building up that sector.

  • - We're investing aggressively in areas

  • like semiconductors and batteries.

  • That's what they're doing in others, so must we.

  • - [Joyu] But it will take years

  • before these efforts bear fruit, giving the US and China

  • yet another reason to focus on Taiwan.

  • - [Christopher] Thank you.

  • - [Tsai] I suppose we should do this.

  • - [Christopher] We can do that, okay.

  • (woman speaking in foreign language)

  • And I can say with confidence

  • that the United States' partnership with Taiwan

  • is stronger than ever.

  • - Ultimately, the future of this island

  • is going to be a key challenge for the Biden administration.

  • So the US will have to find the right balance

  • between supporting Taiwan while making sure

  • ongoing tensions with China doesn't escalate further.

  • (dramatic instrumental music)

(soft instrumental music)

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Understanding the U.S.-China Tussle Over Taiwan | WSJ

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    洪子雯 posted on 2021/05/22
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