TAIPEI, Aug 22 (Reuters) - Taiwan wants to ensure its
partners have reliable supplies of semiconductors, or "democracy
chips", President Tsai Ing-wen told the governor of the U.S.
state of Indiana on Monday, saying China's threats mean fellow
democracies have to cooperate.
Governor Eric Holcomb, a Republican, is making the third
trip to Taiwan this month by a U.S. delegation after U.S. House
Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited briefly, infuriating China, which
views Taiwan as its own territory.
A week after Pelosi's visit, five U.S. lawmakers, led by
Senator Ed Markey, travelled to Taiwan.
China staged extensive military exercises near Taiwan after
Pelosi's visit. Taiwan rejects Beijing's sovereignty claims,
saying only the island's people can decide their future.
"Taiwan has been confronted by military threats from China,
in and around the Taiwan Strait," Tsai told Holcomb during a
meeting at her office in Taipei.
"At this moment, democratic allies must stand together and
boost cooperation across all areas," she added, in remarks
carried live on her social media pages.
China's Foreign Ministry said it had lodged "stern
representations" with the United States about Holcomb's trip.
"China always firmly opposes the U.S. conducting official
exchanges with Taiwan in any form or under any guise," it said
in a statement.
Holcomb is due to meet representatives of Taiwan's
semiconductor companies on his visit amid an expansion of links
between his state and the island, which is home to the world's
largest contact chip maker, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing
Co Ltd (TSMC) .
"Economic security is an important pillar of national and
regional security," Tsai said. "Taiwan is willing and able to
strengthen cooperation with democratic partners in building
sustainable supply chains for democracy chips."
Holcomb talked of the efforts his state was making in
supporting the tech industry, pointing to a June announcement by
Taiwan's MediaTek Inc, the world's fourth largest chip
designer by revenue, of a new design centre in Indiana in
partnership with Purdue University.
"We look so forward to working with them in designing the
future," he said.
PAINS TO GAINS
Holcomb said Taiwan offered some of the best high-technology
talent in the world.
"We're facing and specifically seeking to turn supply chain
pains into supply chain gains. I think the way we get there
faster, in a more resilient fashion, is by doing it together,"
he told reporters.
Holcomb oversaw the signing of a cooperation agreement
between Purdue and Taiwanese electronics contract manufacturer
Wistron Corp, with company chairman Simon Lin
mentioning opportunities to collaborate on areas like
cybersecurity and smart factories.
Taiwan has been keen to show the United States, its most
important international backer, that it is a reliable friend as
a global chip crunch impacts auto production and consumer
Tsai said Indiana stood to become a centre for chip
technology following this month's signing into law of a U.S. act
to subsidise the domestic semiconductor industry as it competes
with Chinese and other foreign manufacturers.
TSMC is building a $12 billion plant in the U.S. state of
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard and Sarah Wu; Editing by
Christopher Cushing, Clarence Fernandez, Toby Chopra and Ed