Taiwan, Japan eye 'all round cooperation' on chips

TAIPEI • The ruling parties of Taiwan and Japan have agreed to have "all-round cooperation" on semiconductors and to hold regular talks, Taiwanese lawmakers said yesterday, after what are de facto discussions between the two governments.

Although Chinese-claimed Taiwan and Japan do not have formal diplomatic ties, they have close unofficial relations and share concerns about China, especially Beijing's increased military activities near the two.

The talks yesterday, attended by two senior lawmakers each from Taiwan's Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and Japan's Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), took place online, and follow initial consultations in late August.

DPP lawmaker Chiu Chih-wei told reporters that chips are not just an issue for Japanese industry, which like the rest of the world has faced semiconductor shortages, but also an issue of security.

"Both sides agreed that in the future there will be even more cooperation on chip supply chains, there will be a complete framework, a system, to have all-round cooperation on semiconductors and other industries... (that Japan and Taiwan) put importance on," he said.

Japanese officials said they had agreed with the Taiwan side that both they as well as the United States needed to cooperate to build resilient supply chains in areas such as semiconductors.

"We need to do our utmost in tackling the shortage of semiconductors at the moment, but realms of cooperation should expand as we go forward," Mr Akimasa Ishikawa, an LDP lawmaker who participated in the meeting, told reporters.

"One of the major challenges will be how the three sides join hands in response to China's high-tech investments."

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) said last month that it would build a US$7 billion (S$9.5 billion) chip plant in Japan with Sony Group. TSMC, a major Apple supplier, produces some of the world's most advanced semiconductors.

The head of the DPP's international department, Mr Lo Chih-cheng, who is also a senior lawmaker, added that the two parties agreed that their dialogue would become regular.

The Japanese side also reaffirmed its support for Taiwan to join the 11-member Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, Mr Lo said. China is also seeking to join the free trade pact.

However, Mr Lo said that military issues were not discussed during these talks.


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 25, 2021, with the headline Taiwan, Japan eye 'all round cooperation' on chips. Subscribe