0826: Biden Remarks Imply “Strategic Clarity,” Taiwan-Arizona MOU on Industrial Cooperation

“Constructive Strategic Clarity” Implied in Biden’s Taiwan Remarks

President Joe Biden’s pledge to “respond” in the event of an attack on Taiwan shows that the United States is moving toward a policy of “constructive strategic clarity” toward Taiwan’s defense, a Taiwanese academic said.

In an interview with ABC News on August 19, Biden disputed the idea that the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan might undermine the credibility of its commitments to its allies, including Taiwan, calling them fundamentally different situations. The U.S. would “respond” if anyone were to invade or take action against a NATO ally, Biden said, before adding, “same with Japan, same with South Korea, same with Taiwan.”

Some observers said that the remarks might have been a slip, as the U.S. has explicit defense agreements with NATO, Japan, and South Korea, but has long maintained a policy of “strategic ambiguity” on the defense of Taiwan. Indeed, Biden administration officials later walked back the comments, saying that U.S. policy toward Taiwan has not changed.

Nonetheless, Taiwanese scholar Su Tzu-yun said Biden’s remarks were indicative of a broader U.S. shift toward “constructive strategic clarity” on Taiwan. Su said this trend could be observed in the transits by U.S. warships through the Taiwan Strait and an increase in the U.S. military presence in the region, adding that the U.S. has used public diplomacy and social media posts to signal its strong commitment to Taiwan.

Taiwan’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Wang Ting-yu said that Biden’s reference to Taiwan alongside countries in which the U.S. has stationed troops would have a significant impact on the country’s security, particularly in efforts toward securing military allies. DPP Legislator Lo Chih-cheng pointed out that Biden’s remark was made in growing recognition of Taiwan’s geostrategic value to the United States.

FAPA President Minze Chien stated: “As China continues to strengthen its military capabilities and increase threats toward Taiwan, we believe the time is NOW for the U.S. to replace outdated ‘Strategic Ambiguity’ with ‘Strategic Clarity’ to sufficiently deter China’s aggression toward Taiwan and in the region. There should be zero doubt for China and the rest of the world about U.S. commitment to keep democratic Taiwan free!”

[1] Focus Taiwan: https://focustaiwan.tw/politics/202108200015
[2] Taipei Times: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2021/08/21/2003762969

Taiwan and Arizona Sign a MOU on Business Cooperation, Focusing on Semiconductor Industry

On August 24, the Taiwan-USA Industrial Cooperation Promotion Office (TUSA), which is supported by Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA), signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on industrial cooperation with the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC). The MOU aimed at fostering closer partnership between Taiwan and Arizona to advance the development of semiconductor, medical device, and advanced manufacturing.

The signing of the MOU comes after Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), the world’s largest chip foundry and a maker of semiconductors for Apple Inc. and many others, announced last May a plan to build a $12 billion fab in Phoenix, Arizona. Reuters reported this May that the TSMC might build as many as six plants in the area, probably and partly with its most advanced technology.

Chris Camacho, chief executive of the GPEC that signed the MOU, said his group is working on ways to bring as many TSMC suppliers and other associated companies to the greater Phoenix area as possible. He said about 40 companies are currently evaluating possible investment in Arizona, but declined to name them due to confidentiality reasons.

“Phoenix and Taipei have had a deep relationship as Sister Cities for more than forty years. We also have strong business relationships, and I am thrilled to be welcoming Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company to Phoenix,” said Kate Gallego, Mayor of City of Phoenix.

Moreover, Taiwan has “become a crucial supplier of anti-epidemic products, including masks, protective gowns, protective visors, respirators, and temperature scanning gadgets,” said Chih-Ching Yang, deputy director-general of the Industrial Development Bureau (IDB), MOEA. “It demonstrates Taiwan’s position to work with Arizona in jointly developing the medical device industry,” Yang added.

[1] Taiwan Ministry of Economic Affairs: https://www.moea.gov.tw/MNS/english/news/News.aspx?kind=6&menu_id=176&news_id=96543
[2] Reuters: https://www.reuters.com/world/us/arizona-group-inks-agreement-with-taiwan-aimed-attracting-more-chip-companies-2021-08-24/