back to article US Army journal's top paper from 2021 says Taiwan should destroy TSMC if China invades

A top US Army War College paper suggests Taiwan should credibly threaten to eradicate its semiconductor industry if threatened by China so that Beijing would no longer be interested in unification. The US Army War College showed the paper was its most popular of the year, when it revealed it topped a list of the most …

  1. John Sager

    I'm not convinced. China's need to re-absorb Taiwan is deeply idealogical rather than motivated by economic considerations. I expect a Punic Wars solution with all of Taiwan salted and unliveable would be acceptable to Beijing, and certainly dear old Not Omicron or Nu.

    What does that say about US warfighters' insight.

    1. llaryllama

      There is no "re-absorption" involved as Taiwan has never been under control of the PRC. In fact Taiwan's links with China are tenuous at best with barely 200 of dynastic Chinese governance in Taiwan's tens of thousands of years of human settlement.

      I'm actually very happy to see the original article was edited from "re-unified" to "unified" - a small but important point as "re-unified" is a loaded term and the actual direct translation from the term "tong yi" used by China is simply "unification".

      1. Bartholomew Bronze badge

        There is no way that any sensible person would ever think that the "Republic of China" (Taiwan) was in any way connected to the "People's Republic of China" (China). One of them by it's very name tells you that it is full of communist!

        1. N13L5

          I don't know - I'd prefer AI to rule the place.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        The current majority in Taiwan has nothing to do with the original settlers though.

        The island was basically invaded by mainlanders in 1949, the defeated ROCarmy established its own dictatorship and pushed natives out of the way in a very ungentle way, then worked hard at assimilating them, whether they wanted it or not.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          The island was basically invaded by mainlanders in 1949,

          Some very unpleasant things certainly went on. However, it is not clear to me that whatever reparations the original local/native population of Taiwan might deserve, that that process would be helped in any way by a PRC invasion, followed by government by communist dictatorship.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: The island was basically invaded by mainlanders in 1949,

            Oddly enough, the indigenous population and communities are now touted as a tourism "must see".

          2. badflorist Bronze badge

            Re: The island was basically invaded by mainlanders in 1949,

            "... it is not clear to me that whatever reparations the original local/native population of Taiwan might deserve, that that process would be helped in any way by a PRC invasion"

            Doesn't matter whatsoever. How far back in history would this concern need to stretch? Should an invader of Egypt be concerned about the population that built the pyramids? Ancient Greece? Romans?

            Here in the U.S.A. we have "Native Americans" that were by all accounts treated more horribly than even the "South Americans" by the Spanish. An invasion today by China, Russia, or any country would not help these Native Americans simply because they don't exist in enough numbers to factor in for anyone other than themselves (they were utterly destroyed).

            Regardless of an invasion or not, the natives of Taiwan will remain as forgotten as they are now.

        2. JBowler

          Rewriting history is, of course, the prerogative of the winner.

          The "ROCarmy" was acknowledged as the rightful government of the whole of China only while it remained convenient to the rest of us. The dispute over who should govern the whole of China - not just mainland - still divides the island's politics. That's sort of acknowledged in your post yet you hide it.

          The Han had lived in Formosa for many years before that and the Han had come to dominate the culture, under various other control; the Portuguese (who give the island its name), the Dutch, the Japanese (who were ousted after a military settlement that assigned ownership of the island to China).

          Yes, the Han are extremely racist, but nothing on a scale with we Christians. The course of racial discrimination in the east seems, to me, to mirror that of the same behavior in my own, carefully circumscribed, country the US, yet the excesses are not worse; that would be difficult to achieve.

          1. llaryllama

            Re: Rewriting history is, of course, the prerogative of the winner.

            I'm not sure that many people living in western countries (including overseas Chinese) understand just how racist China as a whole really is. The idea of Chinese (Han) blood being intertwined with China as a country and the CCP is written into law. For example you could be a third generation descendant of Chinese great grandparents with no PRC nationality and only a UK passport but you will be treated differently under certain laws compared with a foreign visitor of non Han ethnicity. Could you imagine the UK or US saying in 2022 that white people get reduced school fees or anglo saxons have a special route to citizenship? To be fair this is also the case in Taiwan but the laws are slowly changing here.

      3. bombastic bob Silver badge

        unification = invasion

        Let's just call it what it IS: "Invasion" (not "unification")

        [When Germany did this to France in 1940 we called it what it was.]

        Using "their term" is a bit like Chamberlain's appeasement policy isn't it?

        This sounds to me like offshore production needs to move back ON shore, ASAP.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: unification = invasion

          If mainland china really wanted unification, there is one way they could possibly achieve it with no bloodshed.

          The current communist party mainland government just has to dissolve itself and invite the Taiwan government to take over administration of the mainland. Assuming the Taiwanese government is interested, unification is achieved peacefully.

          Probably not what the CCP really has in mind though when they talk about unification.

        2. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge

          Re: unification = invasion

          I think we can all see what even the most "peaceful" takeover of Taiwan would look like by looking at Hong Kong. The PCR would sign a treaty, then start violating it and engaging in mafia-like behavior.

          China, like many other authoritarian regimes such as Russia, use Rule by Law to subjugate their people. Ruly by Law is where laws are passed that are so vaguely worded that in conjunction with a subjugated judiciary, can be used as a weapon against any citizen for any reason if they displease the regime. Anyone who questions the regime is hit with charges against laws so vague & presumption of guilt is the default so that innocence impossible.* This is the exact opposite of Rule of Law where the arbitrary exercise of power is subordinated to well-defined and established laws interpreted by an independent judiciary.

          The West should simply decimate all foundries in Taiwan the second the PRC acts militarily against Taiwan no matter how small the act.

          1. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge

            Re: unification = invasion

            * "If one would give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest man, I would find something in them to have him hanged.” — Cardinal Richelieu in 1641

      4. Jonjonz

        Some people are simply ignorant of history.

        China could care less about Taiwan for centuries until China had a civil war where the leader of the losing side escaped to Taiwan and set up his own version of China there eventually named the Republic of China. The CCP goes apoplectic at the mention of the Republic of China (hence why the name Taiwan is used) and threatens world nuclear holocaust any time it is brought up.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Could care less?

          Surely you mean "Couldn't care less", which would indicate they didn't give a shit about it.

          Could care less would indicate the opposite.

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Thanks - great point and insight

        A word here and word there - we learn from history. Thanks.

      6. NoneSuch Silver badge

        The CPC wants Taiwan as a prize. It can be a barren uninhabited island covered in craters of radioactive glass and they'd be happy.

        Taiwan is a beacon of democratic resistance to the communist dictatorship. That alone is enough to damn them. Hong Kong, Tibet, the Urghars, the South China Sea (and many others), all ground under the heel of a despot nation to prove their superiority.

        Every nation on Earth should recognize Taiwan as an independent country and place Red China under the heaviest of sanctions until the CPC amend their ways for the better.

        Typing those words in China would subject me to a three year jail sentence.

        1. EnviableOne Silver badge

          only three years, I believe this would lead to compulsory re-education an appropriate public apology stating that Hong Kong and Tibet are peaceful parts of the greater China, the Uhgiars are not pressed, whoever the discovered members of the ETIM terrorist organisation are imprisoned and re-educated, allowed to re-pay their debt to the people by working with limited pay in other regions, and the CPC have a legitimate claim to the islands in the south china sea.

          Or failing the willingness to make such a statement, "never be heard from again"

    2. big_D Silver badge

      As of 2025, it would mean that China would hold most of the cards, if Taiwan destroyed its fabs.

      The West would still need chips and the build-up of capacity in China would leave them sitting pretty to pick up the pieces, even if their tech was artificially restricted due to trade embargoes before the action. Larger processes are better than no processes.

      And the engineers? Unless they go up in smoke, along with the factories, expect them to be forced to work for Chinese foundaries.

      Also, an automated system to destroy the factories? What could possibly go wrong?

      I think the whole paper is very short sighted and ignored many obvious facts, especially that this has nothing to do with technology, directly.

      1. Triggerfish

        It strikes me they destroy all their chip manufacturing and they lose the reason countries may be interested in defending them.

      2. An_Old_Dog Silver badge

        What could possibly go wrong?

        1. "You mean that big red button wasn't the emergency power-off?!"

        2. Bloke A: "You gonna check the blueprints before you start drilling in that wall?". Bloke B (revs drill): "Nahh, t'ain't necessary. "

    3. david 12 Silver badge

      Nobody (other than readers here) has ever suggest that the motive for unification is economic.

      Even the article you are responding to doesn't make that claim about the paper: The Register reports and the paper take the position that, lacking a burnt-earth policy, an invasion would be economically neutral: that chip factories would continue to supply China as they do now.

      The suggestion, which is credible, is that economic penalties might discourage invasion.

      1. Cliffwilliams44 Bronze badge

        "The suggestion, which is credible, is that economic penalties might discourage invasion."

        HARDLY! I think the Chinese could care less about economic consequences.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Probably removing foreign airbases from their shore comes first, followed by having control over the seas between Japan/Korea and the Phillipines. Preventing their citizens getting the idea that China could live without the communist party comes third. Economics come last and they might be prepared to ride out 20 years of sanctions from the rest of the world.

          1. Alan Brown Silver badge

            The easiest and fastest way of removing the most problematic airbases from East Asia would be to reunify the Koreas.

            The Chinese government doesn't LIKE the Kims, it's essentially stuck with them thanks to McArthur (North Korea was a Soviet creation and continues to be a primarily Russian-supported entity)

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Don't you mean "couldn't care less" which means "don't give a shit about it" which I assume you mean from the context of your statement.

          Could care less would mean the opposite.

          Are you an American? I have seen this could/couldn't care less thing a few times in books by American authors and it has puzzled me.

      2. llaryllama

        You can't truly understand how irrational China can and will be about the "face" aspect of Taiwan until you have had an argument with a Chinese neighbor or driver.

        If Xi thought he could mostly get away with it and avoid causing too much damage to the Chinese mainland he would quite happily nuke the whole island and a large percentage of the PRC masses would cheer him on. There is a phrase commonly passed around message boards in China that loosely translates to "keep the island, not the people". As far Chinese are concerned Taiwan is Unfinished Business with the Japanese and to some degree America/the West in general.

    4. Jaybus

      "China's need to re-absorb Taiwan is deeply idealogical rather than motivated by economic considerations. "

      I doubt that. All previous land grabs in human history have been over money and power. Why would this one be different?

      1. ShortLegs

        The PRCs 'desire' to grab Taiwan goes back before Taiwan became an economic success, way before TMSC.

        The Chinese view it very differently to us. For them, it is not invasion or [re-] unification, it is pulling an upstat province that illegally left the PRC back into the fold.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Taiwan was never part of the PRC. It has never been governed by the CCP. It may have been part of China when the Kuomintang was in power. Then they simply moved there and continued to govern after losing the mainland to the CCP. So if anything, the mainland is the breakaway territory that usurped the then government.

      2. llaryllama

        I'm Taiwanese and the above quote is 110% correct. China would absolutely nuke Taiwan and leave it an empty radioactive wasteland if they were completely sure it wouldn't backfire and cause internal unrest. They can't be completely sure and that's the only thing that's stopping them.

    5. Alan Brown Silver badge


      China has a _very_ long history (3000+ years) of rogue provinces splitting away and then eventually being assimilated back into the whole

      In virtually every case if there's been a war it was started by the secessionist group. Most times the unification was achieved through dynastic alliances (marriages)

      The USA thinks that China will invade Taiwan when in reality they're content to have an annual ritual shaking of fists over the Formosa Strait. Chinese leadership tends to think in terms of multiple DECADES, not single election cycles

      Bear in mind that if China did militarily invade, the estimates are a couple of million dead on each side. The PRC leadership are not stupid and they know they wouldn't survive that kind of loss, regardless of the percentage in population terms. It's impossible to censor those kinds of numbers and despite the propaganda the country simply isn't that militaristic (They'd much rather trade than fight. It's the USA which is trying to kick things off and that's mostly economic fear of China, not military)

  2. elDog

    How many of those downloads came from the PRC?

    Just asking.

    I used to write scenarios for brass (military and non). They are a dime a dozen (well, more like $1M per). Should be taken with grains of salt. However sometimes one of these scenarios is latched onto by someone with too much authority and frequently not enough brains and becomes some form of reality.

  3. Bitsminer Silver badge

    No, not TSMC

    PRC wants repatriation of Stinky tofu (臭豆腐). Nothing less will do.

    (If you've never tasted/endured it, you are now forewarned.)

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Stinky tofu ?

      You mean to say that there's a version of tofu that actually tastes like something ?

  4. Alan J. Wylie

    an automated mechanism to destroy the foundries

    Dr. Strangelove would be proud. Taiwan needs to be carefully considering its Power Over Ethernet vulnerabilities

    (I'll get my coat)

    1. Blazde

      Dr. Strangelove would be proud

      Like the Swedish, what the Taiwanese really need is a credible plan to fill in their mine-shafts! I'll get writing a paper at once..

    2. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

      I believe it was Dimitri that was quite proud?

    3. Fr. Ted Crilly Bronze badge

      Oh no my CRM 114 descrimonator in INOP

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      the automated mechanism is already in place... 1 in 3 mssiles they buy has pre-programmed coords... we place no bets on who is in control afterwards, and we dont want our fingerprints on scorched earth

  5. Ian Mason

    US Army plans to destroy world economy.

    "US Army journal's top paper from 2021 says Taiwan should destroy TSMC if China invades"

    And then watch the Western economy tank as the world supply of all the many various vendor's chips TSMC manufacture for them dries up. One only has to watch what's happening at the moment with semiconductor shortages to get a flavour of that. TSMC has a 50% market share of the total world silicon foundry market, heavily biased toward the more crucial high density and low power areas of the market.

    In other news, Pinocchio cuts off his own nose to spite his face.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: US Army plans to destroy world economy.

      More crucial only for gaming PCs and smartphones - not for military kit or power parts.

      The current semiconductor shortage that is crippling industry isn't a shortage of 3090 graphics cards or other 5nm parts

      1. Ian Mason

        Re: US Army plans to destroy world economy.

        No it’s not, and if you think that a company that represents 50% of the world’s fab capacity is just turning out “3090 graphics cards or other 5nm parts” then you’ve got a rather poor grasp of what the semiconductor industry produces.

      2. Boothy Silver badge

        Re: US Army plans to destroy world economy.

        5nm parts currently account for about 14% of TSMCs revenue, and as this is a fairly new node. these will likely still be higher margin parts, so actual % of production will likely be quite a bit less.

        7nm is around 35% of revenue (the largest single node by revenue). All other revenue (51%) is from 16nm through to 90nm+. TSMC make a lot of chips other than high end CPUs, high voltage, high thermal, hardened, radio silicon etc. Also the 16nm and bigger is likely to be low margin bulk items, so to get that 51% revenue, this likely accounts for a much larger % of the silicon produced compared to 7nm and 5nm.

        Also just for ref, Nvidia 3000 series cards use 8nm chip from Samsung, nothing to do with TSMC.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: US Army plans to destroy world economy.

      Perhaps this indicates a problem with too many eggs in one basket and shows that the world needs more diverse fab capacity.

      There are other reasons TSMC has had supply problems already. COVID, lack of water, earthquakes, etc.

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        Re: the world needs more diverse fab capacity

        And that is happening. There are a dozen fabs that are supposed to start being built this year, and more have been declared to be on the way all over the world.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: US Army plans to destroy world economy.

      You seem to be assuming that China invading Taiwan wouldn't be a disaster of epic proportions regardless. The "best" plausible outcome is one in which the invasion is so rapid, total, and successful that no opposition is possible; in that case TSMC's output will be reserved for China and everyone else (i.e., that "Western economy" you're worried about) will either get nothing or pay a premium price for heavily restricted supply. There are messier outcomes that lead to multilateral global war. always a sunny prospect. I'm afraid I don't see an outcome for Western economies that's appreciably better than the total annihilation of Taiwan's entire industrial base. The only thing I don't understand about this paper is why it was necessary to publish it; I'd have assumed this was already Taiwan's plan and that they had quietly made sure China was well aware of it. Denial of resources to an invading enemy isn't exactly a novel concept in warfare.

    4. big_D Silver badge

      Re: US Army plans to destroy world economy.

      And, with China ramping up investment in its own fabs, it would be in a key position to benefit from such a strategy, plus it would have all the talent that produced those chips, as they wouldn't be allowed to leave Taiwan after the invasion...

      They'd have the rest of the world over the proverbial barrel.

      I'd give the paper a very charitable E-.

    5. Glen 1

      Re: US Army plans to destroy world economy.

      "In other news, Pinocchio cuts off his own nose to spite his face."

      Its not like that doesn't have any precedent.

      Look at Brexit. Now look at the folk who think Brexit didn't go far *enough*

  6. Claverhouse Silver badge

    Almost A Perfect Plan...

    But only if the USA could possibly benefit from this heroic self-sacrificial scorched earth plan...


    Mind you I thought the Swedes were famous for supplying steel balls to Germany during the late unpleasantness. They were after all, neutral.

    1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

      Re: Almost A Perfect Plan...

      Yes. And neutral Switzerland stashed quite a lot of stolen gold for the Nazis. Russia was in a pact with Hitler, until Hitler foolishly attacked. And neutral USA profited from selling weaponry to UK, until USA was attacked. And then kept on profiting. And UK fought hard to keep its empire. Not at all for profits.

      1. Alan J. Wylie

        Re: Almost A Perfect Plan...

        Sweden provided ball bearings to the UK, too. The Ball Bearing Run

        Don't forget IBM and the Holocaust

        1. bombastic bob Silver badge

          Re: Almost A Perfect Plan...

          All of that was a LONG time ago.

          The lesson is to NOT REPEAT THE SAME MISTAKES NOW.

          1. Justthefacts Silver badge

            Re: Almost A Perfect Plan.

            Not repeat the same mistakes?

            Don’t use the Crimea in a proxy war between the Great Powers?

            Don’t democratically vote in a facist dictator?

            Never start a land war in Asia…..particularly during the Russian winter?

            Don’t attempt to impose economic hardship and blockades on your tier1 economic power neighbour, just because you think you “won” a recent struggle?

            Avoid hyper-inflation in Germany?

            Don’t ignore forced labour camps of racial minorities, for “realpolitik” reasons?

            I’m not sure that the past few years convinces me those lessons are being listened to very much.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Almost A Perfect Plan...

        Neutral Ireland also collaborated with the British Empire to the extent of providing a possible bolthole for its air force, as well as supplying military intelligence and Atlantic weather reports.

  7. martinusher Silver badge

    We've been here before

    Back in the Vietnam era we had to destroy villages in order to save them. Nobody asked the people living there what they thought but as we discovered subsequent to 1975 most Vietnamese seemed to be on the side of Vietnam -- their Vietnam, not our one -- we may have learned not to bother trying to save anyone. They're quite happy being left alone.

    Taiwan is really another WW2 leftover, just like "South" Vietnam (or even "South" Korea). This is where the Chinese Nationalists retreated to after they were pushed out of the mainland and like the other "Souths" they were supposed to be a base for the eventual liberation of the "North" bit by the forces of freedom and democracy. Time marches on and I daresay the inhabitants of Taiwan are quite happy with the present setup (having gone through their post war "authoritarian" phase -- we might have claimed democracy and all that but for decades these places were not very nice to live in). I daresay that given the history of China as a whole, their millennia of shared history and culture and proximity to the mainland that barring some external power continually keeping the pot stirred and using the place as an advance base for military operations the island would eventually unite with the mainland. Time is on the side of the Chinese. As for destroying their industry, this is the sort of thing that's likely to become moot over the next few decades as China builds up its semiconductor capability -- the sheer size disparity between Tiawan and China means that TSMC will become one drop (albeit a large drop) in an ocean. Meanwhile the military threat would degrade the value of TSMC and our attempts to export this technology to 'safe' locations means that sooner or later Taiwan is going to welcome the Chinese as they're the only non-threatening traders they can work with.

    1. llaryllama

      Re: We've been here before

      Despite virtually unlimited resources and much effort China is barely struggling to get 7nm off the ground while TSMC is chugging ahead with 2nm production.

      Being big and really wanting something is not always enough to make it happen. Taiwan - like Korea - has some very unique social, educational and political factors that are very hard to duplicate as a whole.

      I think your analysis about unification does not quite fit with reality on the ground here in Taiwan. The pro-unification KMT party is very much on the decline with most young voters shunning any idea of unification with China. Most Taiwanese under 40 would identify as "Taiwanese", not "Chinese" and even older people who lived through KMT propaganda are split about their Chinese identity. There has also been a wave of "new immigrants" mainly from SE Asia but also from Japan, Korea, Europe, Americas etc. China has always had a pretty racist viewpoint that Chinese blood and nationality are intrinsically linked - this is very slowly being eroded in Taiwan which will further distance Taiwan from the PRC.

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        Maybe so, but if China does occupy Taiwan, you only have to look at Hong Kong to see how it will go.

        And, for Taiwan, that will be the best-option scenario.

        The other option is that all Taiwanese people will be shipped to the Uighur camps (or, you know, "disappeared") and Taiwan will be "repopulated" with 100% China-loyal citizens.

        1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

          I seem to recall a Tom Clancy novel in which the Chinese move on Taiwan simply by buying up enough property locally to have a voting majority at the next election, and vote for unification...

        2. llaryllama

          People often conflate the HK situation with Taiwan, but in reality they are totally different.

          Like it or not HK was only ever on temporary lease to the British and was always scheduled to be returned to China. I'm not really sure what anyone thought would happen but HK was never really an independent state and never had true universal suffrage or democracy. HK has never had a truly independent government, having been chosen by the UK and subsequently by Beijing.

          Taiwan on the other hand is a de facto independent state with its own democratically elected president, judiciary and most importantly a fairly strong military. HK might have gone differently if the government was independent and had a few thousand cutting edge missiles plus a local population all trained and armed with automatic rifles.

          1. EnviableOne Silver badge

            but the country it was on lease from wasn't the PRoC, it was the RoC.

            its government was elected by the people, and made all domestic policy decisions, much like the other British overseas territories.

            its foreign affairs were managed by the UK, and the transition and the 50years of continued democratic government, and one country two systems were part of the withdrawal agreement singed back in 1984 of all years...

      2. big_D Silver badge

        Re: We've been here before

        But, if all the 2nm production is destroyed during a "unification", China is still sitting pretty with 7nm to sell and no TSMC to offer something better.

        1. James Hughes 1

          Re: We've been here before

          2nm isn't due to start production until after 2023, if they are lucky. And the current crisis is on much larger nodes anyway, which is where the majority of production is needed.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: We've been here before

          By the time 2nm is relevant, TSMC will have 7 and 5 (at least) in several locations worldwide, not just Taiwan. So destroying the factories in Taiwan would be highly beneficial to TSMC and global non-China economies regardless of the immediate losses. That is, assuming an invasion, which as I've pointed out is certainly a huge net negative for pretty much everyone.

    2. naive

      Re: We've been here before

      It is questionable if this assessment is correct.

      Taiwan, formerly named Formosa, was part of the Japanese empire. The people living there before WW2 were more Japanese than Chinese. That is one of the reasons Taiwan had an exceptionally friendly occupation by the Japanese in WW2.

      Somebody from Taiwan told me there is a big cultural divide between the original people from Taiwan and those descending from the immigrated KMT army.

      It is actually sort of racist to assume people from Taiwan and those from mainland China are the same.

      Maybe someone from Taiwan could clarify this.

      Taiwan has valid cultural reasons to be independent from mainland China, in spite of CCP bullying.

      History repeatedly proved that giving in to bullies is never a good idea.

      1. llaryllama

        Re: We've been here before

        Taiwan was settled for thousands of years by Polynesian indigenous peoples, was then briefly colonized by the Dutch among others and then China only took a passing interest for barely 200 years. Taiwan was officially ceded to Japan with the Shimonoseki Treaty of 1895 and after Japan's defeat in WWII the 1952 San Francisco Peace Treaty left things intentionally vague and that's where we are today.

        There are many Taiwanese who are not ethnically Chinese (like me) and modern Taiwan is a real melting pot of ancient Chinese culture (e.g. all the stuff that got burned and trashed by the commies), Japan, Korea, SE Asia and western culture. Speaking to Mainland Chinese is like talking to someone from another planet.

    3. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: We've been here before

      why does what you said remind me of Neville Chamberlain... ?

      although there will certainly be those who do NOT see a problem with communist aggression, the reality is that THIS is MOST CERTAINLY communist aggression, from CHINA!

      Then ask yourself: Who's next?

      (what DO they teach in schools these days?)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: We've been here before

        why does what you said remind me of Neville Chamberlain... ?

        Reminds me more of Hank Hill

  8. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

    Staff Studies

    The paper is a staff study of a scenario that might happen. Many of these plans exist if for no other reason to exercise the minds of planners so they actually think about the problem in a somewhat realistic manner. Many are also flawed because the premise for the plan is dubious. The classics for dubious thinking are some of the Canadian defense plans in 20/30s against a US invasion or the German naval plans against the US circa 1900. The conclusion in this study is based on certain scenarios not happening such as geographical diversification of the foundries, united stand against the PRC (many in the area distrust Beijing), etc.

    1. msobkow Silver badge

      Re: Staff Studies

      "...united stand against the PRC..."

      So far, in the course of human history, those who thought to trumpet a call and find salvation in the arms of their neighbours were usually invaded or destroyed. Witness the Palestinian's salvation at the hands of other Arab nations, or the way all the states in the area rose up against Russia when they seized a chunk of Ukraine.

      Better to assume your allies are going to make excuses and/or send a token presence rather than a useful force.

  9. Bartholomew Bronze badge

    The Barrels

    Worker 1: What are all those barrels with the blinking red light and antennas on their side all around the plant for ?

    Worker 2: I heard a rumour that it is part of the half M.A.D. final solution.

    Worker 1: huh ?

    Worker 2: There is some kind of super hive mind AI inside each and every one that live streams US TV via satellites 24/7, the "intelligence" mostly watches CNN and NBC. If ever Carson Daly goes off air, the $#1t will hit the fan big time. Or if the internet goes down, or the satellites are destroyed by space junk, or someone forgets to pay the streaming subscription, or the SSL certificates expire, or ...

    Worker 1: What ? No, no, what I meant like what is in them ? And what do you mean by the final half M.A.D. solution.

    Worker 2: The safety label on the side says that they are totally safe, that they are filled with sugar, spice and all things nice. But if I put a Geiger counter near them it goes totally bat$#1t crazy. A M.A.D. solution is Mutually Assured Destruction, they were meant to install barrels just like these in all the Silicon fabs worldwide. But the European union opted out, something to do with their RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances) directive, where they want to keep their citizens safe for some insane reason. And the US says that they do not need to bother that they have been dumping all their toxic waste in the water, air and soil for the last two centuries and that a few extra barrels will not make things any worse. So yea, everywhere "was" meant to have them, but currently it just us, there is no absolutely no reason for it to be called M.A.D. (I suspect it is just marketing - S.A.D. and T.A.D. did not play well with the test group study), now it is just us - but some people do think that the idea is mad as in totally bat$#1t insane.

    Worker 1: So is that why all the management are working from home these days ?

    Worker 2: How the hell would I know I only work here, they never tell us anything. I only found out about them when I had to swipe the dude who was installing them into the building.

    Worker 1: Should I be worried that they have a sticker on them saying Intel inside and fully compatible with Windows 11 ?

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: The Barrels

      MADness has moved on into other fields of remote virtually anonymous and autonomous engagement and exercise, Bartholomew. And very lucrative it is too whenever one knows what needs to be done and how to do it and how to supply it for other to do it equally as well themselves with SMARTR AIMentoring and Monitoring Guaranteed FailSafe.

      Massive Attacks of Disruption .........

      1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        Re: Massively Disruptive Attacks

        And that very spookily has one as an almighty friend and/or fiendish foe for anyone, North, South, East or West with the necessary wit to engage and explore future real likely virtualised possibilities.

        The UK always likes to talk a good Great Game ........

        The UK is an AI superpower, with particular strengths in research, investment and innovation. The UK’s academic and commercial institutions are well known for conducting world-leading AI research, and the UK ranks 3rd in the world for AI publication citations per capita. .....National AI Strategy - HTML version Published 22 September 2021

        ..... but walking the walk without it being through vast deep drowning seas of propaganda bullshit is not something they be very well known for and it is a highly prized and hotly contested field nowadays, now that the significance of overwhelming success in the genre is being better recognised and groomed for, with billions in flash cash readily available for award and reward to that and those with a very particular multiset of definite need to knows ..... China Matching Pentagon Spending on AI

        Here's another maybe good Great Gamer UK publication/policy paper ..... Advanced Research and Invention Agency (ARIA): policy statement [Published 19 March 2021] ..... which if it does not deliver untold wealth to whom and to where it is richly deserved, is just another prime example of bullshitting propaganda which fools nobody with even a titter of sweet wit.

  10. ChrisBedford

    "Chinese State [...] responded [...] by denying that TSMC was the reason the country was seeking reunification with Taiwan"

    Oh, yah, sure. And Peng Shuai is 100% OK, Hong Kong is still a democracy unencumbered by authoritarianism, and the Dalai Lama is welcome to come home to Mongolia and preach independence.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      As a matter of fact, the Dalai Lama is welcome in Mongolia.

      A logical visit, as Tibetan Buddhism was created by Mongol rulers about 400 hundred years ago when they picked one of the local Buddhist sects and made them the only allowed religion, starting a tradition of Dalai Lamas being born in politically convenient families.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Welcome maybe, not quite home.

      It's a 19 hour flight from Ulan Bator to Lhasa.

  11. Mister35mm

    Apparently, Taiwan and India have some kind of technology exchange thing going on.

    Taiwan provides India with high end chip fabrication and India provides? Well, I am guessing nuclear technology as this would enable Taiwan to build a credible deterrent.

    1. msobkow Silver badge

      "India provides?" you say, but I think more likely what India "provides" rather than nuclear technology is preferred access to a market of a billion plus consumers...

    2. llaryllama

      Taiwan is a wealthy country with a highly educated populace, indigenous nuclear power generation technology and grumpy next door neighbor. Just like Israel I think there's a better than 50% chance that Taiwan is already quite capable of building nuclear weapons without any outside help if they haven't already.

  12. Binraider Silver badge

    Have a plan ready to go at a moments notice to airlift the machinery and personnel? The Soviet Union moved a lot of heavy industry under comparable conditions in 1941.

    Failing that, trashing it would eliminate the major economic reason to want to seize Taiwan. Politically, however, it seems China's current leadership are hell bent on political goals over-and-above economics and the declaration that they want to unify the country in time for the 100th anniversary of the formation of the PRC trumps any economic reason.

    I can only hope the good people of China see the charade for what it is and demand change. Tiananmen Square was, purportedly a more significant revolt with a lot more popular backing than the PRC is willing to let on. As I understand the original army units sent in to quash the rebellion refused to open fire; prompting bringing in country-bumpkin units that would blindly obey orders to do the dirty work instead.

    Perhaps beating the crap out of an ill advised Chinese invasion of Taiwan would also be the prompt needed for China to evict it's own rulers for their own benefit.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Tiananmen Square was, purportedly a more significant revolt

      I'm not sure that "revolt" is the right word - perhaps demonstration - but I certainly recall hearing reports on Australian radio of government attacks on demonstrators in more Chinese cities than just at Tianamen.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Tiananmen Square was, purportedly a more significant revolt

        The more significant part of what happened back then was that the PLA had to bring in units from quite a distance away from Beijing to do the deed. None of the local commanders wanted to go in against civilians

        Where I work has a significant number of chinese students - and it's very clear that a couple of them are PLA "minders" (in the same way that the Soviets had KGB minders) - They aren't exactly subtle or particularly smart. They're also the ones who tend to pile onto the Taiwanese, Malay and British Born Chinese students who make disparaging comments about China

  13. Cliffwilliams44 Bronze badge

    Clueless morons

    This is the problem we have in our current society, clueless morons making policy recommendations. China could care less about the chip manufacturing company in Taiwan, they want Taiwan back, even if they have to reduce it to rubble before hand!

    During the cold was America and Europe knew we could not win a conventional war against the Soviet Union in Europe. The threat was "If you invade western Europe we nuke you!" That threat kept the peace. That same threat should be given to China. If you invade Taiwan (or any of our other allies in the Asia/Pacific) we will nuke you. Is Taiwan worth potentially destroying the world YOU also live in? China is ruthless (nothing wrong with that) but just like the Soviets I don't believe they are stupid nor suicidal.

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: Clueless morons

      Do clueless morons have an epic sense of humour and humbling honourable self deprecation a la these modern day Chinese ...... No Time to Die Laughing ...... or does ignorance and arrogance abound on their chosen public stages?

  14. Alan Brown Silver badge

    typical US thinking

    China has seldom invaded "rogue provinces". They've usually rejoined after a couple of hundred years through political mechanations (usually marriages, etc)

    If there has been warfare it's invariably been started by the secessionist area

    In the case of Taiwan there's a ritualised shaking of fists over the Formosa Strait every year but the reality is that there's been increasing economic integration between Taiwan and the mainland for a long time. China has no desire to lose a couple of million young men in an invasion of the island. The leadership is not stupid or hawkish and despite the propaganda it's a country where little old ladies have been known to get into fist fights with police without being arrested (and the police mostly refuse to carry weapons because they have to heavily account for the things of they do)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: fist fights with police without being arrested

      Yeah, but if you perhaps light a candle on the wrong day of the year...

  15. Potemkine! Silver badge

    From my point of view, Chinese invasion is not a matter of 'if', but 'when'.

    If Taiwan wants to be safe from a Chinese invasion, the only solution I see is to get nuclear weapons and nuclear submarines to launch them. Once this achieved, Taiwan can safely declare its independence.

    Without this, there will always be a big Damocles sword over Taiwan's head.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Interesting definition of safety

      But perfectly within their technical capapabilities.

    2. arachnoid2

      is to get nuclear weapons and nuclear submarines

      Taiwan has been prevented from purchasing submarines by Chinese political rhetoric and backdoor manovering. Though self build is also hitting a few walls.

    3. EnviableOne Silver badge

      the problem is in Taiwan, the popular opinion is that maintaining the status quo is the preferred option, there are small factions that favour declaring independence from China, which has never actually been done, as well as a small faction for unification.

      the middle group are roughly 70% of the population with 20% for independence and 10% for re-unification (if I remember the study correctly)

  16. trevorde Silver badge

    Won't someone think of...

    ...the iPhones!

  17. the future is back!

    ROC (Taiwan) has looked at Asymmetrical response to PRC aggression for years

    Audio sucks but at a scrum for statements from Taiwan's Vice Minister of Defense Andrew Nien-Dzu Yang 2013 in DC. It's inaudible but he states Taiwan is read to challenge PRC attacks with asymmetric tactics. Could this mean devices already exist to disable TSMC and other manufacturers in case of invasion?

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