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VOA Asia Weekly: Taiwanese Chip Manufacturing Workers Adjust to Life in the US

VOA Asia Weekly: Taiwanese Chip Manufacturing Workers Adjust to Life in the US
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China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi visits Washington. China unexpectedly removes Defense Minister Li Shangfu. Rep. Mike Johnson of Louisiana is elected US House Speaker. Married Hindu women in India celebrate the end of Durga Puja.

Taiwanese chip manufacturing workers adjust to life in the U.S.

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

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi is visiting Washington for three days. He was set to meet with Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan. Wang’s visit comes as the U.S. wants China to mediate in Israel’s conflict with Hamas militants and Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine. Before his visit, Wang reiterated the importance of Israel protecting civilians while defending itself, and he expressed China’s deep sympathy for Palestinians.

China’s Defense Minister Li Shangfu was dismissed on Tuesday, two months after he disappeared from public view. However, the Chinese Communist Party did not announce a successor. He’s the second high-profile minister to lose his job recently without an official explanation.

The U.S. House chose Republican Louisiana Representative Mike Johnson on Wednesday as its new Speaker. He was the 4th nominee by House Republicans since Kevin McCarthy was forced out of the role on October 3.

Japan’s Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that compelling individuals in transition to undergo sterilization to change their legal gender identity is unconstitutional. However, the court did not address the separate requirement for transgender people to undergo transition surgery to legally register their identified gender. This ruling marks progress for LGBTQ rights in a nation that has been slow to recognize them.

The Philippines has summoned the Chinese ambassador following two collisions between Philippine and Chinese vessels in the South China Sea on Sunday. The Philippines has accused China’s coast guard of “dangerous blocking maneuvers” that led to the crashes with Philippine resupply boats about 25 kilometers from the disputed Second Thomas Shoal. In response, China accused the Philippine boat of “deliberately” stirring up trouble by reversing in a “premeditated manner.”

A Taiwanese semiconductor chip making facility in the U.S. state of Arizona is one part of U.S. President Joe Biden’s cornerstone agenda to boost domestic production of chips that run everything from phones to cars. But many Taiwanese at the new Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company plant — face challenges of living in a new environment. VOA’s Stella Hsu, Enming Liu and Elizabeth Lee have the story.

Adam Liu has been wanting to experience the world outside of his hometown of Taichung, Taiwan. The opportunity to do that came almost six months ago.

Liu works for Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company or TSMC, the world’s largest semiconductor chip maker.

He is one of hundreds of workers from Taiwan who have moved to Phoenix, Arizona, the location of this TSMC facility.

“In Taiwan we were mass producing chips, so we have to focus on the production line. But in the U.S. after I got here, we haven’t started producing at the moment, so we’re just in the learning process.”

The facility is the cornerstone of President Joe Biden’s agenda to push for making chips in the U.S. instead of outsourcing this technology. TSMC’s Phoenix workforce is made up of Americans and Taiwanese — which comes with challenges.

“We are used to speaking in Mandarin and now we have to change to English to help the Americans we work with understand, it takes a bit more effort.”

Julie Sun knows about the cross-cultural challenges. She teaches English at this Chinese Baptist church in Phoenix and is the wife of a TSMC employee from the U.S.

“Working at TSMC when compared to working at an American company is not the same. So regardless of whether it’s someone from Taiwan or a U.S. worker, all have certain pressures because they need to get used to differences in language, culture and a different way of living.”

Michael Lin, pastor of the church, saw the need and created this English and culture class for the spouses of TSMC employees from Taiwan.

For Liu, he says he’s a bit bored outside of work on weekdays but tries to do some sightseeing on the weekends.

Scenery of the desert Southwest, that is as different from Taiwan's green landscape as Mandarin Chinese is to English.

Reporting with Stella Hsu in Phoenix, Elizabeth Lee, VOA News, Washington.

Visit for the most up-to-date stories.

I’m Chris Casquejo.

And now we take you to India.

Married Hindu women across the country marked the end of the festival of 'Durga Puja' with a vermilion smearing ceremony on Tuesday.

Thanks for watching VOA Asia Weekly.