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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.

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Ukraine War Dominates Davos Discussions | World In :60 | GZERO Media

Ukraine war dominates Davos discussions

Ian Bremmer shares his insights on global politics this week on World In :60 from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Is the Russia-Ukraine war dominating the conversation in Davos?

Yes, it is. There is only one side of the conversation here. Not true globally, but in Davos, there are no Russian delegates. And I mean, frankly, pretty much every single person attending is saying as much as they can in favor of Ukraine. You see a lot of people kind of dressing the part and certainly you're in Europe. And so as a consequence, the fact that this is a war in Europe that ends the peace dividend, it's been topic number one, topic number two, topic number three. Kept me pretty busy, frankly.

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Gabriella Turrisi

Hard Numbers: EU semiconductors, Ortega vs students, Taiwan missile defense upgrade, US mask mandates, TikToking at 92

48 billion: The EU plans to spend $48 billion to become a major chipmaking hub in response to the global semiconductor shortage. The US also wants to produce more homegrown semiconductors and reduce its dependency on Asian suppliers.

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What Would a Chinese Invasion of Taiwan Look Like? | Ret. US Admiral James Stavridis | GZERO World

What would a Chinese invasion of Taiwan look like?

When asked about where a US-China war may start, US Admiral James Stavridis (Ret.) doesn't hesitate: Taiwan. He suggests that China may believe the US is distracted by internal politics: "I think it would be a miscalculation on the part of the Chinese, but they may calculate that now is the moment." How would a move against Taiwan play out? Stavridis speculates how the Chinese military may plan to invade the island on the upcoming episode of GZERO World, which begins airing on US public television Friday, May 14. Check local listings.

Visitors look at Chinese Air Force fighter jets at a military base in Hangzhou.

Reuters

What We’re Watching: China targets Taiwan, Palestinian election heats up, Russia-Ukraine border tensions

Chinese jets swarm Taiwan: This week, multiple Chinese warplanes penetrated Taiwan's airspace. While Beijing does this quite often to flex its muscles, this time the jets took a different route, and one even got close to the Japanese island of Yonaguni, located less than 70 miles (113 kilometers) north of Taiwan. The maneuvers have been interpreted by experts as a direct warning from the Chinese to Japan not to overplay its hand. (It's worth noting that Tokyo could get dragged into a US conflict with China over Taiwan because, like Taiwan, it has a mutual defense treaty with the US.) More broadly, the flight patterns also indicate that China could surround Taiwan on three sides in an eventual invasion, cutting off the territory from US and Japanese military support. All this comes as the Biden administration has expressed serious concern (paywall) that Beijing is indeed planning to invade Taiwan in the very near term. With US-China relations getting hot, more rumblings over an invasion of Taiwan will surely turn the temperature even higher.

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