Taiwan's top trade negotiator warned that if China were to attack the island nation, the harm to the global economy — due to a semiconductor shortage — would be worse than that of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Reuters reported.
"The disruption to international supply chains; disruption on the international economic order; and the chance to grow would be much, much [more] significant than this one," John Deng, Taipei's top negotiator, said of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. "There would be a worldwide shortage of supply."
Deng noted that much of the world relies on semiconductors made in Taiwan to manufacture technologies such as electric vehicles and mobile phones.
Last year, Taiwan's chip exports totaled $118 billion. Deng added that 40% of Taiwan's chip exports go to China.
Last month, President Joe Biden fueled tensions between China and Taiwan after he said the United States would defend Taiwan if China invaded.
The Taiwan Relations Act of 1979 commits the U.S. to help Taiwan defend itself but does not commit the U.S. to direct engagement with China. The United States has maintained a stance of "strategic ambiguity" regarding the island's independence.
Last month, Republican Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas gave a statement calling for the U.S. to pivot its Taiwan policy to one of ''strategic clarity."
After Biden commented, China declared that it would conduct military drills near Taiwan; a Chinese People's Liberation Army spokesman later said it was a "solemn warning to the recent U.S.-Taiwan collusion activities."
On Friday, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told his Chinese counterpart, Gen. Wei Fenghe, that Beijing must avoid "further destabilizing actions" toward Taiwan.
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