It might whet China’s appetite for control of Taiwan and the world’s top maker of vital microchips
The US departure from Afghanistan has sent seismic waves through the world, and even more so in Asia. While there will be a direct impact on nearby countries, a country where the tectonic plates might shift the most is far-away Taiwan. It is no coincidence that there has been a flurry of diplomatic activity between Taiwan and the US, with the former placing an order for the latter’s upgraded Patriot air missile defence system and American fighter jets. The obvious reason behind these tremors is China, which has always considered Taiwan a breakaway province and bristled at countries recognizing it diplomatically. As China emerges as a global power, its official policy is to make Taiwan a part of itself, along with Hong Kong and several other islands. But the recent kerfuffle, perhaps, has to do with one more reason, a company called Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC). Firms and factories have caused wars in the past: the East India Company led to British rule in India, fruit and agri-produce companies ‘owned’ small countries in Africa, and even China fought the British over its opium ‘factories’. So, it is plausible for history to repeat itself over a cutting-edge technology product that powers much of the globe.