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America's future in Taiwan

Intensifying threats of China unifying Taiwan have brought uncertainty to the stability of regional security for south east Asia, according to some critics. (Photo by Ceng Shou Yi/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Intensifying threats of China unifying Taiwan have brought uncertainty to the stability of regional security for south east Asia, according to some critics. (Photo by Ceng Shou Yi/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Why should the U.S. care about the island-nation of Taiwan? Here’s one reason: It produces more than half the world’s ultra-modern semiconductors.

“What Taiwan is to chips is what oil was to Saudi Arabia in the Middle East, Taiwan is kind of the controller of what will make our economies move in the 21st century,” Steve Blank says.

Recently, China has been ramping up military activity around Taiwan.

China’s armed forces are capable of blockading Taiwan’s key harbors, posing what the island’s government calls a “grave” military threat. And the rhetoric between Washington and Beijing is heating up.

Today, On Point: What is America’s 21st century strategic interest in Taiwan? And are those interests worth risking war?

Guests

Oriana Skylar Mastro, fellow at Stanford University’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. Non-resident senior fellow at American Enterprise Institute. (@osmastro)

Yun Sun, director of the China Program and co-director of the East Asia Program at the Stimson Center, a non-partisan think tank. (@Stimson_EAsia)

Steve Blank, adjunct professor and co-creator of the “Technology, Innovation and Great Power Competition” class at Stanford University. Senior fellow for entrepreneurship at Columbia University.

Also Featured

Tong Zhao, senior fellow at the Carnegie–Tsinghua Center for Global Policy in Beijing.

Brian Hioe, journalist and founding editor of New Bloom Magazine in Taiwan. (@brianhioe)

From The Reading List

Foreign Affairs: “The Taiwan Temptation” — “For more than 70 years, China and Taiwan have avoided coming to blows. The two entities have been separated since 1949, when the Chinese Civil War, which had begun in 1927, ended with the Communists’ victory and the Nationalists’ retreat to Taiwan.”

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.