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Taiwanese semiconductor industry (especially TSMC) is extremly important and valuable on the global scale. Given this:

  1. Is it a major reason for Chinese interest in Taiwan?
  2. Considering possible Chinese intervention in Taiwan, would getting control of the industry (or whatever would be left of it) be an important argument for the intervetion? If so, why wouldn't Taiwan commit to destory all the factories and knowledge in case China tries to occupy the island (so as to decrease the probability of intervention)?
  3. Is the industry an important factor for the US to support Taiwanese independence, or they do so mostly for other reasons?

Update: I do understand that China justifies its interest with historical arguments, however countries do not always tell their real motivations, that's why I'm asking this question.

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  • Chinese interest in Taiwan is historical (China claims Taiwan as its territory). There's no point in the first question.
    – uberhaxed
    Aug 2 at 18:39
  • @uberhaxed It is China's decision to keep these claims, and it might well be because of TSMC. China dropped claims to (Outer) Mongolia in the past, so dropping claims to Taiwan wouldn't be an unprecedented move.
    – michau
    Aug 3 at 13:01
  • @michau It wouldn't be unprecedented, but the situation in Taiwan is not comparable to outer Mongolia. Taiwan is the base of the old monarchy that lost the Chinese Civil War in the mid 20th century. Just as the US famously doesn't allow succession (see US Civil war) most countries do not earnestly believe in the idea of self determination, especially if it's basically a plan B after a failed coup. I'm not saying that's what happened in China, but from the mainland perspective, after they declared the PRoC, the old government was basically an attempt at a coup.
    – uberhaxed
    Aug 3 at 18:32
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    @uberhaxed It might have been called "an attempt at a coup" in Chiang Kai-shek times. But for the last 30 years it's been perfectly clear that basically nobody in Taiwan wants to take power in Beijing. So why does Beijing still want to take over Taipei, even though Taipei doesn't want to take over Beijing anymore? The answer might well be TSMC.
    – michau
    Aug 4 at 8:40
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    There's no way a Q about a country's "real motivation" isn't going to be primarily opinion based. Anyhow, I feel the Q has been otherwise asked before from both a US and PRC perspectives politics.stackexchange.com/questions/71662/… politics.stackexchange.com/questions/70764/…
    – Fizz
    yesterday

1 Answer 1

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  1. Is it a major reason for Chinese interest in Taiwan?

TSMC is not the most important reason for Chinese interest in Taiwan.

This controversy is a legacy of the Chinese civil war (1927-1949) when The Kuomintang (KMT) and Chiang Kai Shek's followers fled to Taiwan to avoid being exterminated by Mao Zedong's CCP and their followers.

  1. Considering possible Chinese intervention in Taiwan, would getting control of the industry (or whatever would be left of it) be an important argument for the intervention?

No. Because to have military involvement, the USA has to show the international community that something grave is taking place, which is a threat to humanity and Western interests.

Saving a company from a Chinese takeover isn't a good selling point. That is why the USA is masking it as the preservation of freedom, human rights, democracy, etc.

If so, why wouldn't Taiwan commit to destory all the factories and knowledge in case China tries to occupy the island (so as to decrease the probability of intervention)?

Because this is not a good idea.

Taiwan's expertise in semiconductor manufacturing is a national pride and the result of decades of hard work of Taiwanese highly valued human resources and the Taiwanese government.

Consider the Canadian Avro Arrow program. They scrapped the program in favor of the US Bomarc missile. Consequently, Canada remains a US vassal and a permanent US defense customer. On the contrary, a much smaller nation like Sweden is a self-reliant country in the defense sector.

  1. Is the industry an important factor for the US to support Taiwanese independence, or they do so mostly for other reasons?

The semiconductor industry is the most important factor right now. However, even if that was not an issue, the reunification of Taiwan will give rise to other problems for the USA:

  1. US defense export to Taiwan will cease.
  2. The strategic US naval advantage around Taiwan straight and in the South China sea will go away. You can consider Taiwan as a permanent aircraft carrier.
  3. Although this is a minor problem - Taiwan is a part of the supply chain of the US aerospace industry.
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    Please let's not hold up the Avro as having a significance it does not. The Avro was part of a whole family of interceptor jets that were meant to take down Soviet bombers with missiles. High speed, low maneuverability, no guns. Its US equivalents the F106 and F104 were phased out of US service within a decade because their reason for existing disappeared once ICBMs became the main threat vector. National weapons programs, depending on exports for viability, exports which rarely materialize, are the bane of taxpayers in many a small country. That would have been Avro's contribution. Aug 2 at 19:05
  • Is it possible to refactor this into more of a fact-based answer? Simply answering "No" isn't convincing, compelling, or supported. There are certainly arguments for a "Yes" to #1 out there for example; how can readers be convinced if you just say "No" and move on?
    – uhoh
    Aug 2 at 22:36
  • and ditto "Because this is a stupid idea." It doesn't rise to the level of a Stack Exchange answer and even if posted as a comment to the OP would be at risk for deletion.
    – uhoh
    Aug 2 at 22:55

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