{{ subpage.title }}

Paige Fusco

Will a “silicon shield” help protect Taiwan?

Tensions between Taiwan and China rose to new highs this summer after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s controversial visit to the island prompted a week-long series of Chinese military maneuvers that were even more threatening than usual. China has pledged to retake what it sees as a breakaway territory — through invasion if necessary — and viewed the trip by a top US official as an affront to its sovereignty.

As China asserts its claims to Taiwan more aggressively, the island’s population has grown increasingly averse to reunification. Yet there are powerful reasons for China not to invade Taiwan — not least the fear that America, the island’s longtime ally, would come to its defense. US ties to Taiwan have grown even closer in recent years as it has come to dominate the global production of semiconductors, tiny silicon connectors that serve as the brains of modern electronics.

We asked Xiaomeng Lu, a director in Eurasia Group’s geo-technology practice, to explain how chips fit into Chinese and US calculations toward Taiwan.

Read Now Show less
Gabriella Turrisi

The Graphic Truth: As US arms Taiwan, China arms itself

The White House announced on Friday that it plans to sell Taiwan $1.1 billion worth of new weapons, its biggest arms sale to the self-governing island since President Joe Biden took office. It's also the first since China upended the status quo in the Taiwan Strait in response to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's uber-controversial trip to Taipei.

For decades, the US has sold weapons to Taiwan over China's strong objections. While Beijing claims the island is part of the People's Republic of China, Washington does not take a position on the question of Taiwan's sovereignty, holding that the issue should be resolved peacefully by both sides — while supporting Taiwan's self-defense capabilities. But tensions between Washington and Beijing over Taiwan have been rising as the US-China relationship deteriorates more broadly.

If China were to someday invade Taiwan — which it regards as a renegade province that sooner or later will be brought under mainland control — would the US come to the island's defense? A 1979 law provides "strategic ambiguity" on whether America would have to do so. In the meantime, US arms sales have bolstered Taiwan's defense deterrent while China's military budget has skyrocketed.

We take a look at US military sales to Taiwan compared with China's own defense spending since 1990.

At the Beijing shore, China’s leaders muse Taiwan

This week, the crème de la crème of China’s ruling Communist Party wrapped up its annual summer retreat at the coastal resort town of Beidaihe, east of Beijing. The closed-door, low-key gathering was this year supposed to be just another milestone before the 20th Party Congress in the fall, when Xi Jinping is expected to secure a norm-defying third term as CCP secretary-general.

Read Now Show less

Cricket fans, with their faces painted in the Indian and Pakistani national flag colors, ahead of a match between the two countries.

REUTERS/Amit Dave

What We’re Watching: Partition 75th anniversary, Kenyan vote count, US-China in Southeast Asia

India & Pakistan turn 75

This year’s Aug. 15 Diamond Jubilee of Partition, when the British Raj split into India and Pakistan, is a complicated affair. India has gained more from independence in 1947 than Pakistan: earlier this summer, the Indian economy crossed the $3.3 trillion mark and officially overtook the UK to become the world’s fifth-largest — a nice touch to celebrate 75 years of independence from its colonial master. But India’s democratic credentials remain under threat by the rise of Hindu nationalism. However, Pakistan’s experiments after Partition — proxy wars, civil war, martial law, and Islamism — brought much suffering to its people. Today, the country is at the verge of another financial crisis and negotiating its 23rd IMF bailout, as well as in talks with its own version of the Taliban. Unfortunately, a growing nuclear arsenal is the only equalizer for the political and economic imbalance between the two countries. But there is still hope yet. After years of making zero progress, India and Pakistan are now involved in a backchannel dialogue, which may bring some normalcy between the old enemies. That, and the cricket, of course: Pakistan has won more games overall against its arch-rival, but never beaten India in a World Cup match.

Read Now Show less
GZERO Media

What We're Watching: K-pop in China, US ends Remain in Mexico, China vs. porcupine

South Korea’s top diplomat visits China

South Korea's Foreign Minister Park Jin traveled to China this week for meetings with his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi – the first such high-level visit since Yoon Suk-yeol became South Korea’s new president earlier this year. They had plenty to discuss. China wants Yoon to keep his predecessor’s promises not to expand the use of a US missile defense system, not to join a US-led global missile shield, and not to create a trilateral military alliance that includes Japan. China also wants South Korea to stay out of a computer chip alliance involving Taiwan and Japan. South Korea, meanwhile, wants China to understand that it values Beijing as a top trade partner and wants to build stronger commercial ties. Yoon notably refused to meet US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi during her uber-controversial trip through Asia last week. But he’s also made clear that his predecessor’s commitments to Beijing are not binding on his government. The long-term economic and security stakes are high, but we will also be watching to see if South Korea has persuaded China to relax restrictions on the access of Chinese citizens to K-Pop, the South Korean pop music phenomenon. Seoul needs durable commercial relations with Beijing, and millions of Chinese music lovers need their South Korean boy bands.

Read Now Show less
China Escalates on Taiwan; US-China Relations Get Worse | Quick Take | GZERO Media

China escalates on Taiwan; US-China relations get worse

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take: Hi, everybody. Ian Bremmer here, and a happy summer Monday to you. I'm certainly feeling all warm and relaxed, and I hope you are too someplace fun. Lots to talk about that's been good for the Biden administration in the last week, probably the best week they've had since he's been elected. The passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, the CHIPS Act, unexpectedly strong job numbers which undermines all of the talk of recession. Kansas voting down the amendment on the abortion restriction. The assassination of the most wanted had the self-proclaimed emir of al-Qaida al-Zawahiri in Afghanistan, with no collateral damage, always good news and surprising when you see a bombing and there's actually no civilians that get killed. But of course, as someone who's focusing on foreign policy, the biggest story of the week, not one that is good news and that is the US-China relationship, the most important, most powerful two countries in the world, right now, with their worst bilateral relationship, frankly, since Tiananmen Square.

Read Now Show less

A model of the Chinese fighter aircraft seen in front of Chinese and Taiwanese flags.

REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

As China aims to change Taiwan’s status quo, US does damage control

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s controversial trip last week to show solidarity with democratic Taiwan made more than a splash.

China’s unprecedented live-fire military exercises have changed the status quo of how far it can breach into territory that the self-governing island controls. Meanwhile, the US tried to manage the crisis without ruffling more feathers, Taipei pushed back with its own war games, and the wider region braced for impact.

Read Now Show less
Paige Fusco

The Graphic Truth: Who trades with Taiwan?

China and Taiwan are longtime foes: Beijing is committed to reunifying the island with the rest of mainland China, while Taipei desperately wants to retain its self-governance. And in recent days, Beijing has demonstrated its willingness to use military force to safeguard its national security interests. Despite the bad blood, Taiwan and China are closely intertwined, maintaining robust trade and people-to-people ties. Beijing remains Taipei’s largest trade partner by far, accounting for nearly one-third of all Taiwan’s exports. It’s for this reason that recently imposed economic sanctions on Taiwan by China stand to really hurt the self-governing island.

Subscribe to GZERO Media's newsletter, Signal

Latest