Taiwan, Japan eye ‘all round cooperation’ on chips

Image source: Reuters

Taiwan and Japan’s ruling parties agreed on Friday to have “all round cooperation” on semiconductors and to hold regular talks, Taiwanese lawmakers said, after what are de facto discussions between the two governments.

Although Chinese-claimed Taiwan and Japan do not have formal diplomatic ties, they have close unofficial relations and both share concerns about China, especially its increased military activities near the two.

The talks, attended by two senior lawmakers each from Taiwan’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), took place online, and follow initial consultations in late August.

DPP lawmaker Chiu Chih-wei told reporters that chips were not just an issue for Japanese industry, which like the rest of the world has faced semiconductor shortages, but also an issue of security in the face of China.

“Both sides agreed that in the future there will be even more cooperation on chip supply chains, there will be a complete framework, a system, to have all round cooperation on semiconductors and other industries the two countries put importance on,” he said.

Japanese officials said they had agreed with the Taiwan side that both they as well as the United States needed to cooperate to build resilient supply chains in areas such as semiconductors.

“We need to do our utmost in tackling the shortage of semiconductors at the moment, but realms of cooperation should expand as we go forward,” Akimasa Ishikawa, a Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker who participated in the meeting, told reporters. “One of the major challenges will be how the three countries join hands in response to China’s high-tech investments.”

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd said last month it would build a $7 billion chip plant in Japan with Sony Group. TSMC, a major Apple supplier, produces some of the world’s most advanced semiconductors.

The head of the DPP’s international department, Lo Chih-cheng, who is also a senior DPP lawmaker, added that the two parties agreed going forward their dialogue would become regular.

The Japanese side also reaffirmed its support for Taiwan to join the 11 member Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, or CPTPP, Lo said, which China is seeking to join too.

However Lo said that military issues were not discussed during these talks.

Japanese and U.S. armed forces have drawn up a draft plan for a joint operation for a possible Taiwan emergency, Japan’s Kyodo news agency said on Thursday, citing unnamed Japanese government sources, amid increased tensions between the island and China.

In October, Japan’s government signalled a more assertive position on China’s aggressive posture towards Taiwan, suggesting it would consider options and prepare for “various scenarios”.

Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Additional reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka in Tokyo; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan and Gerry Doyle

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