TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Arizona Governor Doug Ducey on Thursday hailed economic and educational cooperation with Taiwan, marked by a $12 billion investment in his state by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp.
Ducey spoke during a meeting with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, the latest in a string of visits by US political leaders that have drawn anger from China, which claims Taiwan as its own territory and condemns all official contacts between Taipei and foreign governments. who recognize Beijing.
Taiwan is a leader in the production of semiconductors, the essential chips used in everyday electronics and have become a battleground in technology competition between the United States and China.
Arizona is also home to a base that trains Taiwan’s F-16 fighter pilots who play a major role in the island’s defenses against a threat of blockade or Chinese invasion. Arizona also plans to open a state representative office in Taipei, and the parties have signed a higher education cooperation agreement. TSMC’s investment is expected to create 2,000 jobs in Arizona, with the company taking many future workers for training in Taiwan.
“Arizona and Taiwan have many common economic strengths, especially in technology and advanced manufacturing,” Ducey said.
“Arizona and Taiwan are both world leaders in semiconductors and this is where our partnership is most important. (The investment) has elevated the potential of what is possible between Arizona and Taiwan,” the governor said.
Neither Tsai nor Ducey mentioned China directly, although in her remarks the president indicated that current events are leading to expanded economic ties between the parties.
“Facing authoritarian expansionism and economic challenges in the post-pandemic era, Taiwan is seeking to strengthen cooperation with the United States in semiconductors and other high-tech industries,” Tsai said.
“This would help build safer and more resilient supply chains. We look forward to jointly producing democratic chips to protect the interests of our democratic partners and create greater prosperity,” she said.
Taiwan’s close ties to Arizona go back to former state senators Barry Goldwater and John McCain, conservatives who are highly critical of Beijing.
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan early last month made her the highest-ranking US official to visit in 25 years, prompting China to launch missiles over the island and to send ships and planes through the middle line of the Taiwan Strait.
The United States recently sent a pair of missile cruisers across the 180 kilometer (110 mile) wide strait to spurn Chinese protests. Despite the lack of formal diplomatic relations, the United States remains Taiwan’s main source of political and military support and is required by federal law to ensure the island has the ability to defend itself against Chinese threats.
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