The head of Taiwanese tech giant TSMC warned an invasion of the island would render his factory “not operable” as tensions rise ahead of a potential visit by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
On Monday, Pelosi kicked off an Asia tour that has been shrouded in secrecy, with much speculation but no confirmation on whether she will stop in Taiwan.
Beijing, which considers self-ruled Taiwan its territory — to be seized one day, by force if necessary — said it would regard a Pelosi visit as a major provocation.
Beijing’s sabre-rattling has increased in recent years, and the possibility of an invasion has intensified under Chinese President Xi Jinping.
In a rare interview with CNN that aired Monday, TSMC chairman Mark Liu warned “nobody can control TSMC by force”.
The Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company is one of the main suppliers of the world’s most advanced microchips — used in everything from smartphones and cars to missiles — and its factories are running at full capacity to alleviate a global shortage.
“If you take a military force or invasion, you will render TSMC factory not operable,” he said.
“These are such sophisticated manufacturing facilities. It depends on the real-time connection with the outside world, with Europe, with Japan, with the US.”
The Taiwanese firm dominates more than half of the global semiconductor market, with clients including Apple and Sony.
“From materials to chemicals and spare parts, to engineering software diagnosis, and it’s everyone’s effort to make this factory operable,” Liu said.