China has been increasingly aggressive about controlling the microchip industry and emboldened in its aggressive stance towards Taiwan since the U.S. pullout of Afghanistan, and the lack of direct involvement in the Ukraine conflict by the United States.
Controlling the island of Taiwan, which accounts for 92 percent of the production of the world's most advanced semiconductors (below 10nm), would allow China to dominate the global microchip market.
Martijn Rasser, Senior Fellow from Washington think tank Technology and National Security Program at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) said that, "Semiconductors are the ground zero of the global technology competition. They're in everything that we need to function as a society".
He also said that "by gaining control over Taiwan’s semiconductor industry, China would control the global market. They would have access to the most advanced manufacturing capabilities and that is even more valuable than controlling the world's oil."
Impact Of Russian And Chinese Wars On Global Microchip MarketsUkraine produces around 70% of the world's neon, used in microchip production. Neon gas is used to run the lasers necessary for manufacturing semiconductors. After Russia annexed the Crimea peninsula in 2014, neon prices jumped by 600 percent.
Richard Betzendahl, who runs a firm that researches the gas stated, "[The] excimer laser, which is the high-powered laser that could drill holes through metal and so forth, it needs neon".
During the manufacturing process for semiconductors, the lasers (which require neon gas to run) etch circuitry patterns onto silicon wafers. Nina Turner, an IDC semiconductor analyst, said, "It’s creating … a puzzle piece. You’re taking these different patterns and putting them down on the wafer".
In the event that China does invade Taiwan and take control of its microchip industry, and if Russia is successful with its "Special Military Operation" on Ukraine, the two countries could conceivably control the world's microchips and semiconductors, leaving the duo with a global monopoly on electronics devices, including military hardware.
The Biden administration, however, has begun implementing a program called "Chips For America", that they say will be countering this threat by flooding the microchip industry in the United States with billions of dollars worth of funding.
China: Taiwan Independence Means WarIn June, of 2021 Chinese Defense Military spokesman Wu Qian said of frequent Chinese military activity around the island of Taiwan, "They are a solemn response to external interference and provocations by 'Taiwan independence forces. We warn those 'Taiwan independence' elements: those who play with fire will burn themselves, and 'Taiwan independence' means war."
At the time, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby responded to the comment by reaffirming United States support for Taiwan saying, "We have obligations to assist Taiwan with their self-defense and I think you’re going to see that continue."
On July 11th, of 2021 the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) committee posted a video threatening to "continuously use nuclear bombs" on Japan if the country tries to intervene in a Chinese invasion of Taiwan in spite of the fact that China only possesses between 250 to 350 nuclear warheads.
The 5-minute video was created by Liujun Taolue, a CCP military commentary channel where the speaker in the video calls for continuous nuclear attacks on Japan if it tries in any way to defend Taiwan from an attack from China.
The video stated that if Japan "dares to intervene with force" when the CCP "liberates" the island of Taiwan, China wage all-out war with Japan and that the PLA (Peoples Liberation Army) will preempt and strike Japan with nuclear weapons first until Japan does an unconditional surrender "for the second time".
The narrator boasted that China has had 60 years of nuclear arms development and declared "we solemnly put forward the 'Japan Exception Theory'" which seems to suggest that Japan is exempted from the NFU, or "no first use" policy put forth by China in 1964.
The video also instructed viewers on various atrocities that China blames Japanese soldiers for against the Chinese people during the Sino-Japanese wars and declares that if a third war breaks out they will "take revenge for both old and new scores".
The video also stated that no other country besides Japan has ever suffered a nuclear attack, so nuking Japan "will yield twice the result with half the effort".
A second video highlighted China's superiority in numbers and fighting will as opposed to their Japanese counterparts.
The second video also said that after they defeat Japan, China will then break Japan's four islands up into independent countries under the "supervision" of China and Russia, both of which will have military garrisons stationed there.
The video stated that Okinawa will be broken off and separated from Japan and be either managed by the CCP or as an independent country itself.
In 1958 The United States Considered A Nuclear Strike On China Over TaiwanDeclassified top secret documents that were posted on the internet by Daniel Ellsberg from the "Pentagon Papers" show revealed that the United States considered a nuclear strike on China in 1958 to prevent an invasion of Taiwan.
The documents, which were partially declassified in 1975 state that military planners assumed that Russia would come to the aid of China if the country was attacked and that both countries would resort to nuclear weapons in such a scenario.
Ellsberg is now 91 years old and is famous for leaking what is now known as the "Pentagon Papers" in 1971. The papers that were leaked were from a top-secret study on the war in Vietnam.
He said that he decided to release the study on the Taiwan Crisis from the 1970s, now that tensions between the United States and China are again at an all-time high over Taiwan.
The documents state that if an invasion of Taiwan had taken place, the Joint Chiefs of Staff at that time "made it clear that the United States would have used nuclear weapons against Chinese air bases to prevent a successful air interdiction campaign".
If the use of nuclear weapons on Chinese air bases didn't work to deter China, the document stated that there would be "no alternative but to conduct nuclear strikes deep into China as far north as Shanghai".
The danger of nuclear war in the event of an invasion abated however when China stopped carrying out artillery strikes on Taiwan's islands in 1958.
China still considers Taiwan to be a Chinese-owned territory and sees them as an "inalienable part of China" and a "breakaway province" that China believes should be 'reunified' with the mainland.
US Military Failed Miserably In Wargame Simulating Chinese Invasion On TaiwanA top US General has said that the United States military "failed miserably" during a wargame in October simulating a Chinese attack on Taiwan, leaving the military pondering the changes that need to be made to the US and Taiwan joint strategy.
During a speech in July 2021 in front of the Emerging Technologies Institute (ETI), Joint Chiefs of Staff Vice Chairman and US Air Force General John Hyten stated that the U.S. Army carried out a joint warfighting strategy during a wargame in October, of that year.
Hyten stated, "Without overstating the issue, it failed miserably. An aggressive red team that had been studying the United States for the last 20 years just ran rings around us. They knew exactly what we were going to do before we did it."
Technologically, China has increased dramatically and their navy has been aggressively practicing an invasion on Taiwan as of late, as well as ramping up emboldened threats about an invasion on the island to 'reunify' it to mainland China.
Hyten stated that the advantage that the U.S. has is "shrinking fast, and China is running the race very quickly and we have to figure out how to stay ahead".
After the failed wargame in October, Hyten said that the United States military has been reevaluating its strategy. The new strategy they have come up with is "not quite a clean-sheet approach because you can never take a clean sheet of paper if you want to get between now and 2030, you have to start with what you have".
Hyten stated that the new strategy addresses just how to "aggregate" military forces for a 'significant' effect" as well as then "disaggregate to survive in any kind of threat environment".
"We always aggregate to fight, and aggregate to survive", Hyten stated. "But in today’s world, with hypersonic missiles, with significant long-range fires coming at us from all domains, if you’re aggregated and everybody knows where you are, you’re vulnerable".
Hyten talked about ways to improve "functional battles", the first of which is "contested logistics" focused on delivering supplies and fuel to front-line troops.
The second is "joint fires". "You have to aggregate to mass fires, but it doesn’t have to be a physical aggregation. It could be a virtual aggregation for multiple domains; acting at the same time under a single command structure allows the fires to come in on anybody. It allows you to disaggregate to survive".
The third "functional battle" he talked about is Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2) which involves having centralized information, or access to information from domains covering the entire battlefield area, but disaggregated so that if the centralized information structure were targeted the whole fighting force would not lose access to the information.
"The goal is to be fully connected to a combat cloud that has all information that you can access at any time, anyplace," Hyten said. Fully connected, but without the ability for the enemy to compromise the data through an attack on a centralized location.
For the last "functional battle" Hyten spoke of "information advantage" which he stated is really just a sum of the first three "functional battles". Hyten said, "If we can do the things I just described, the United States and our allies will have an information advantage over anybody that we could possibly face".
Chinese Propaganda Attempts To Isolate TaiwanAfter the United States pull out of Afghanistan, China began to put out propaganda telling countries that they could not trust the United States to protect them. This propaganda was almost exclusively aimed at Taiwan.
In August 2021 Chinese state media Global Times, known for propaganda said, "From what happened in Afghanistan, those in Taiwan should perceive that once a war breaks out in the Straits, the island’s defense will collapse in hours and US military won’t come to help. As a result, the DPP [Taiwan's Democratic Progressive Party] will quickly surrender".
Not only did the state-run media address the Afghanistan pullout, but also the war in Vietnam, and Syria saying, "Once a cross-Straits war breaks out while the mainland seized the island with forces, the US would have to have a much greater determination than it had for Afghanistan, Syria, and Vietnam if it wants to interfere".
A Global Times editorial entitled "Afghan abandonment a lesson for Taiwan’s DPP" in August of 2021, stated: "The world has witnessed how the US evacuated its diplomats by helicopter while Taliban soldiers crowded into the presidential palace in Kabul. This has dealt a heavy blow to the credibility and reliability of the US".
Another Global Times editorial in 2021 titled, "Taiwan fears becoming the next chess piece that the US casts away following Vietnam, Afghanistan: local media" stated that the, "US’ unhesitant abandonment of its allies to evacuate its embassy personnel and citizens from the country has dealt a heavy blow to some media and US-ally-believers in the island of Taiwan, with many fearing that the island will become the next chess piece that the US will cast away as it has done with Vietnam and Afghanistan".
Yet another article in 2021 titled, "The US, Taiwan could face sudden blow at any time in Taiwan Straits: Global Times editorial" stated that "The US has the strongest overall national military strength, but most of it cannot be deployed in the Taiwan Straits technically, and the US has no public support or national will to use that military strength to defend Taiwan".
The article also said, "When will the mainland fly its military planes closer to Taiwan island or even fly over the island, or launch missiles over the island to deter Taiwan authorities? Our answer is any time. We advise the US and the island of Taiwan not to misjudge the situation and not to underestimate our determination and will to punish their provocation. They must be prepared to face a sudden blow".
The likely aim of the propaganda is to make Taiwan feel isolated and unsure of whether help would be coming if China were to attempt an invasion of the island in order to 'reunify' it with the mainland under communist rule.
The propaganda pieces from the global times were published just days after Washington's approval of its first arms deal with Taiwan, transferring 40 mobile artillery vehicles to the island.
Taiwan Microelectronics Founder Pledges $32 Million To Train And Equip Civil Defense ForceA Taiwanese microelectronics founder named Robert Tsao has announced plans to fund a civil defense force and pledged $32 million to train and equip such a force, in order to defend Taiwan against a Chinese invasion force.
Tsao, who is 75 years old said that the Chinese Communist party (CCP) is a growing threat to the island of Taiwan, and wants to train up to "three million people in three years".
He said that 60% of the funds allocated to the army will be going towards building the army itself, and the other 40% would be going towards training another 300,000 in how to use weapons in combat.
"If we can successfully resist China’s ambitions, we not only will be able to safeguard our homeland but make a big contribution to the world situation and the development of civilization," he stated.
He told Radio Free Asia that he used to be a supporter of unifying Taiwan with mainland China, but said that after he witnessed China's crackdown on Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement, he changed his mind and planned "to die in Taiwan and stand with its people".