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8. The US is intensifying its attacks on Huawei and other Chinese companies with its sneaky, underhanded tactics even as both countries put their signatures on the so-called phase 1 trade deal.|
According to the Nikkei Asian Review on 15 January 2020, Washington has upped the pressure on Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. to produce its military-use chips in the U.S., in order to ensure that the world's biggest contract chipmaker can manufacture the high-security components free from potential Chinese interference.
Meanwhile, the US is mulling more restrictions to bankrupt Huawei, Zte and all other Chinese companies. US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin could be right when he said Huawei is not a "chess piece" in US-China trade deal. Rather, Huwei could be viewed as "one of the many layers of China's geopolitical, economic armour" at which Uncle Sam stabs frantically like a madman in his attempt to take out China once and for all.
The other "layers" are ZTE and all other Chinese companies. As an analogy, if a tired knight could still sleep like a log under a tree even though a dagger had pierced through his armour, then he really deserved to "sleep" forever.
9. The following are excerpts from a news report, dated January 15, 2020, under the headline "Exclusive: Washington pressures TSMC to make chips in US" and subheading "Pentagon fears Chinese interference in Taiwan's semiconductor giant".
…. TSMC, which makes computer chips used in American F-35 fighter jets and serves as a key supplier to Apple as well as Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei Technologies, has sidestepped similar U.S. security requests before.
But as Beijing and Washington jostle for technological and military supremacy, the company faces growing American pressure to make a firm decision about producing in the U.S. or offering another security-compatible solution before the U.S. presidential election in November....
"The U.S. government wants chips that go into military projects to be built on American soil," a senior Taiwanese government official, who was briefed about Washington's approaches to TSMC given the company's strategic and technological importance, told Nikkei. "That's for national security concerns, and they [the U.S.] don't plan to back off on that."
TSMC, which holds a 50% share of the world's chip foundry business, supplies computer chips to Huawei and American tech giants such as Google, Qualcomm and Intel. The Taiwanese company also supplies high-performance chips for U.S. military suppliers such as Xilinx, which in turn makes components for American F-35 fighter jets and satellites.
Washington has made keeping Chinese technology and surveillance at bay a global priority. TSMC, as a major U.S. and Chinese chip supplier, has often found itself in the middle of the technology standoff as a result. In addition to the F-35 jets, TSMC makes U.S. Defense Department-approved "military grade" chips that may be used by some of its other American clients for classified military purposes.
Industry sources said American officials talked with TSMC "several times" ahead of last weekend's election in Taiwan, which saw China-skeptic President Tsai Ing-wen reelected in an outcome that Beijing decried but that U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo hailed as "a force for good in the world."
Ian Steff, assistant secretary of the U.S. Commerce Department, last month made his third visit to Taiwan during 2019, where he met with TSMC founder Morris Chang and Chairman Mark Liu at a private reception, one executive source told Nikkei.
"We've noticed that many U.S. tech executives and government officials are concerned about their country's dependence on TSMC and the security of their defense industry's supply chains," said Su Tze-yun, director of Taiwan's Institute for National Defense and Security Research.
"That's why the U.S. constantly hopes that TSMC could stand with them to make chips somewhere else other than just Taiwan, which they think is not completely safe because China has not ruled out the possibility of taking control of the island by force," the director said....
(To be continued in my next post)