Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen speaks during a press conference on Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb’s trip to the island territory. Photo by Makoto Lin/Taiwan Presidential Office/Flickr
Aug. 22 (UPI) — Taiwan is willing to strengthen “democracy chips” supply chains with democratic partners, President Tsai Ing-wen said Monday during an economic development trip to the island by Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb amid growing tensions with China.
The Taiwanese president touted strengthening supply chains for semiconductors with allies as a means to national security during a press conference Monday in Taipei welcoming the Republican governor and a delegation of state and Purdue University officials who had arrived on the democratic island a day prior.
“Economic security is an important pillar of national and regional security. Taiwan is willing and able to strengthen cooperation with democratic partners in building sustainable supply chains for democracy chips,” she said. “Together, we can safeguard our common values and create even greater prosperity.”
China views Taiwan as a rogue province and has vowed to take it by force, if necessary.
Tsai said Monday that they are facing the continued expansion of global authoritarianism while calling on democratic nations to band together in response.
“Taiwan has been confronted by military threats from China in and around the Taiwan Strait. At this moment, democratic allies must stand together and boost cooperation across all areas,” she said.
Holcomb and his delegation arrived in Taiwan on Sunday for the two-day visit, marking the latest in a series of visits by U.S. government officials over recent weeks. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taipei early this month, spurring a furious response from China, which launched days of mass military drills in response. A delegation led by U.S. Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., arrived last week, which prompted further exercises from the Chinese military.
Beijing has yet to respond to Holcomb’s visit.
According to a statement from his office, Holcomb was in Taiwan with Indiana Economic Development Corporation staff, Purdue University Dean of College of Engineering Mark Lundstrom and others to meet with business and academic leaders and government officials.
During the press conference, Holcomb said that several memorandums of understanding were to be signed between himself and Taiwan as well between Purdue and the territory’s universities that had him “smiling from ear to ear.”
He said the agreements between the state and territory would deepen cooperation in critical industries, such as semiconductors, agro-bio science and advanced manufacturing and technology.
“Because we share so many common values and interests and goals there are more opportunities ahead of us than, I think, there ever have been before for us to continue to strengthen and cultivate and nurture this relationship,” he said. “As our economies grow and grow together we will seek to build strategic partnerships with you.”
Indiana’s Perdue University was expected to sign MOUs with island universities that he said would “equally propel us forward on that research front and those areas and many more.”
The trip to Taiwan follows President Joe Biden early this month signing the CHIPS and Science Act into law, which among shoring up weaknesses in the U.S. semiconductor supply chain will bolster Indiana’s technology micro-electronics industry.
Tsai described the CHIPS Act as setting the foundation to make Indiana a “center” in the semiconductor industry.
“These developments align perfectly with those in Taiwan,” she added. “Our semiconductor industry plays a key role in global supply chains.”
Following his two-day visit Taiwan, Holcomb was scheduled to visit South Korea, another heavy hitter in the semiconductor industry, before returning to Indianapolis on Saturday.
The visit also comes days after the United States and Taiwan announced plans to begin formal trade talks.
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