Apple Chip Partner TSMC Making Contingency Plans Against Possible 2027 Chinese Invasion of Taiwan

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There are growing concerns that China could invade Taiwan as soon as 2027. This nightmare scenario could end up pitting the United States and China in a war, as the US is legally obligated to defend Taiwan in case of invasion. The possibility of such an invasion also has Apple’s chipmaking partner, TSMC, making plans to prevent the Chinese government from gaining access to the company’s chipmaking capabilities.

When Russia invaded Ukraine, it spurred concerns that China may be emboldened by the invasion, encouraging the communist country to invade Taiwan. Such an invasion could put the world under threat of nuclear war. So far, the countries in the West have offered financial and weapons support to Ukraine while also hoping against hope that the support and economic sanctions will eventually prove effective against the Russian invasion. However, it’s not looking good so far.

If China invaded Taiwan, the US would be committed to helping Taiwan defend itself, although the exact nature of the assistance the US would lend is still unknown. Due to fears of a possible nuclear war with China (these same fears have been expressed where Russia is concerned), the US may instead rely on arms and financial aid just as it has with the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

China recently rehearsed a military blockade of Taiwan and has also announced its plans for reaching “new military heights” by 2027, which is the 100th anniversary of the People’s Liberation Army. General Mark Milley, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, has been quoted as saying Beijing may be readying itself for an invasion of Taiwan during that year.

TSMC’s Plan to Protect Its Chipmaking Machines

While China gaining access to TSMC’s chipmaking technology may, at first glance, seem like a minor concern compared to the possibility of a nuclear World War 3, there are several defense concerns.

As Bloomberg reports (via 9to5Mac):

[TSMC plants can] print the smallest microchip transistors in existence — creating chips that have artificial-intelligence uses as well as more sensitive military applications.

Such concerns have led TMSC and its Dutch chip machine supplier ASML to make joint plans to remotely disable the chip-making machines in the event of a Chinese invasion.

ASML reassured officials about its ability to remotely disable the machines when the Dutch government met with the company on the threat, two others said. The Netherlands has run simulations on a possible invasion in order to better assess the risks, they added […]

TSMC Chairman Mark Liu [previously] hinted in a September interview with CNN that any invader of Taiwan would find his company’s chipmaking machines out of order.

“Nobody can control TSMC by force,” Liu said. “If there is a military invasion you will render TSMC factory non-operable.”

All of Apple’s A-Series and M-Series chips that are used in Apple’s devices, including the iPhone, iPad, Mac, and more, are made by TSMC, meaning there is great importance in both protecting the company’s chipmaking capabilities, while also emphasizing the importance of moving chip-making facilities to the United States and other countries, wherever there is less risk of invasion by unfriendlies.

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