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Taiwan Proposes Enhanced EU Relations for Chip Investment – A Diplomatic Trade-Off

Taiwan's Foreign Minister, Joseph Wu, calls for stronger ties between the EU and Taiwan, setting it as a condition for ongoing semiconductor investment from the East Asian island.

Joseph Wu
Joseph Wu

Taiwan Pushes for Strengthened EU Ties Amidst Chip Investments

Joseph Wu, Taiwan's Foreign Minister, suggested during a recent European visit that closer ties between Taiwan and European countries are essential if they desire continued Taiwanese investments in the semiconductor industry. His statements indicated the Taiwanese government's strategic outlook on international relations and economic partnerships.

TSMC's Overseas Investments Require Government Approval

Investments overseas by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp (TSMC), the world's leading contract chipmaker, are subject to government approval. This holds for a potential new chip factory in Germany. However, Wu clarified that the government does not intend to impose conditions on TSMC's investments. The company's decisions are ultimately determined by the project's potential profitability.

Taiwan's Investment Philosophy and International Relations

Wu stressed that Taiwan doesn't aim to obstruct investments in Europe. However, he cited a "philosophical issue" wherein countries expecting Taiwanese support should take into account the larger context of their relationship with Taiwan. He urged nations interested in attracting TSMC to be considerate of Taiwan's geopolitical situation.

China's Sovereignty Claims and Taiwan's Rebuttal

As China continues to claim self-ruled Taiwan as its territory, Taiwan remains staunch in its resistance. Taiwan insists that only its citizens have the power to determine the island's future, objecting strongly to China's sovereignty claims.

Possible Improvement in Taiwan-EU Relations

"If countries can align with this positive perspective, the relations between Taiwan and major European countries are bound to improve significantly," asserted Wu. However, the Minister chose not to reveal his location, given the sensitive nature of his trip. It's worth noting that Taiwan maintains formal diplomatic ties only with the Vatican within Europe.

Wu's European Visit and His Call for Peace in Taiwan Strait

Despite the diplomatic complications, Wu visited the Czech Republic and, according to sources, Brussels, where EU and NATO headquarters reside. Wu commented that EU leaders now advocate more openly for peace in the Taiwan Strait and the preservation of the status quo. He urged the bloc to mull over increased cooperation with Taiwan, including a bilateral investment agreement (BIA).

Challenges Ahead for EU-Taiwan Investment Deal

While Taiwan made it onto the EU's list of potential BIA partners in 2015, the two parties have yet to engage in talks on the matter. Wu admitted this is a "challenging" situation, expressing concerns over the EU-China investment deal which appears to be stalled. Nevertheless, he remains hopeful, stating, "We hope we can go ahead with it and we can persuade the EU leadership to think about this positively."