ASML and TSMC, two giants of the semiconductor industry, have the means to remotely disable their cutting-edge equipment in the event of an invasion of Taiwan by China. This information, revealed by Cagan Koc during a programme on Horizons Middle East & Africa, highlights the precautions taken to protect this critical industry in the event of conflict.

Half of this equipment, EUV machines essential to the manufacture of the most modern chips, is owned by TSMC. ASML, the Dutch company that manufactures these machines, has assured the Dutch government that it can neutralise them remotely, a feature confirmed in confidential exchanges and illustrated by government simulations of an invasion.

This feature is a direct response to the tensions between the United States and China, with major implications for global security. The United States, anxious to protect its technological lead, has banned the sale of these machines to China and sees this deactivation function as an additional deterrent to Chinese ambitions. It is a strategic card that Western allies are holding in reserve in the event of a major crisis in the region.

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