Accessibility links

Breaking News

VOA Asia Weekly: Taiwan's Silicon Shield

VOA Asia Weekly: Taiwan's Silicon Shield
please wait

No media source currently available

0:00 0:05:06 0:00

U.S. House Speaker McCarthy plans to meet Taiwan's President Tsai in the U.S. North Korea issues warning to U.S. and South Korea. Why Taiwan wants to maintain its semiconductor manufacturing advantage. International Women of Courage award recipients.

Why Taiwan wants to maintain its semiconductor manufacturing advantage as the U.S. pushes to build more chips domestically.

Welcome to VOA Asia Weekly. I'm Chris Casquejo in Washington. That story is just ahead, but first, making headlines:

U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy plans to meet Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen in the United States in coming weeks, sources told Reuters. Tsai was invited to speak at California’s Ronald Reagan Presidential Library on the way to Central America. The sources said McCarthy plans to speak with her in California, his home state.

The sister of North Korea’s leader is warning that her country is ready to take “quick, overwhelming action” against the United States and South Korea. Kim Yo Jong made the warning Tuesday after the U.S. flew a nuclear-capable B-52 bomber to the Korean Peninsula for a drill with South Korean warplanes. North Korea often test-launches missiles when the allies hold military drills.

Sri Lanka expects final approval from the IMF for a $2.9 billion loan later this month, the president said on Tuesday. He added that China has agreed to restructure its debt agreements with Sri Lanka, totaling about 10 percent of Sri Lanka’s total foreign debt, which exceeds 51 billion dollars.

Residents of a central Philippines province said Wednesday that local tourism has been hit hard by an oil spill from a sunken fuel tanker after officials announced fishing and swimming bans in the coastal town of Pola.

This month, the U.S. Commerce Department launches its first application under the CHIPS Act to build more semiconductors inside the United States. But officials in Taiwan say the U.S. push to build chips domestically could compromise their national security. VOA’s Jessica Stone reports.

Taiwan Semiconductor is building its second US facility in Arizona, but Washington is calling for new applications to build an additional two locations for semiconductor research, development and production inside the United States.

“Fundamentally this is about making sure that we make the chips that we need on our shores and fuel the innovation that we need in America so that we can have the moral and technological authority to lead the world and maintain our national security.

But Taiwanese officials worry that U.S. national security may come at a cost to their own.

President Tsai Ing-Wen refers to the semiconductor factories in Taiwan as a so-called “silicon shield” protecting the self-ruled island from a potential Chinese invasion.

Taiwan Semiconductor’s founder, Morris Chang, explains in this 60 Minutes interview:

“It means perhaps because our company provides a lot of chips to the world, maybe somebody will refrain from attacking it.”

Around the world, nations are pushing to expand the semiconductor supply chain. In January, Taiwan Semiconductor announced it’s considering adding plants in Japan and Europe. That same month, Taiwan’s government passed its own version of a CHIPS Act – in an effort to maintain the silicon shield.

“This new Taiwanese Chips Act is really Taiwan’s answer to try to balance producing chips outside of Taiwan with ensuring that it doesn’t completely go outside of Taiwan and that they maintain their cutting edge.”

In February, Washington launched a forum to coordinate with Japan and South Korea on blocking China from gaining the ability to independently produce its own advanced memory chips.

Jessica Stone, VOA News, Washington.

A politician and disabled rights activist from Malaysia and military leader from Mongolia are among the 11 recipients of the U.S Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage Award, to help mark International Women’s Day.

The women were honored at a White House ceremony Wednesday.

Malaysian Senator Datuk Ras Adiba Radzi was first known as a broadcast journalist. She was permanently paralyzed from the waist down following a car accident and then a brutal assault six years after the accident. Since then, she has become an activist for the rights of people with disabilities in Malaysia.

“The most important thing is for us to empower our community. That’s one. And another is for us to lift each other up and support each other to make sure that all persons with disabilities in my country and also all around the world can live just like everyone else.”

Brigadier General Bolor Ganbold became the first woman general in the Mongolian Armed Forces last year. She was the first female cadet admitted to the Military University of Mongolia and Mongolia’s first female staff officer assigned to a United Nations Peacekeeping Operation.

The Secretary of State’s IWOC Award is now in its 17th year.

Visit for the most up-to-date stories. Thanks for watching VOA Asia Weekly. I’m Chris Casquejo. Until next week.