China Claims Trump May Abandon Taiwan

Under a second Trump presidency, China has expressed that the United States may abandon its support for Taiwan. Chen Binhua, the spokesperson for Beijing’s Taiwan Affairs Office, stated that the U.S. would always prioritize its interests and that Taiwan could become an “abandoned piece” anytime.

These remarks responded to former President Donald Trump’s comments during a July interview. Trump, considered a frontrunner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, criticized Taiwan’s dominance in the semiconductor supply chain. He expressed regret that the U.S. had lost its chip manufacturing capabilities to Taiwan and suggested that tariffs and taxes should have been imposed to prevent this.

Trump’s ambiguous stance on defending Taiwan also drew attention. When asked about Taiwan’s defense, he replied that answering the question would put him in a disadvantageous negotiating position. While this reflected the complex dynamics between the U.S., Taiwan, and China, Trump’s immediate focus on Taiwan’s semiconductor industry garnered criticism.

Brian Hart, a fellow with the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ China Power Project, highlighted that China would welcome Trump’s comments. Chinese actors have been actively using social media and other means to sow doubt about the U.S.’s reliability among the Taiwanese public.

The Chinese Communist Party government asserts that Taiwan is its territory despite never having governed there. The recent election in Taiwan, which saw the China-skeptic Democratic People’s Party win an unprecedented third term, was framed by Chinese officials as a choice between peace and war.

Taiwan is a key player in the assembly and supply of semiconductor technologies. The country plays a central role in the distributed network of companies that make up the chip supply chain.

Countering Trump’s claim that Taiwan “stole” the chip industry from the U.S., Brian Hart pointed out that Taiwan merely excelled in specific sectors, earning its success. Taiwan is an economic ally of the United States and a critical component of the global electronics supply chain. Consequently, any aggression towards Taiwan would trigger severe disruptions in the worldwide economy, highlighting why the U.S. is deeply invested in ensuring Taiwan’s security.

Following Trump’s comments, Taiwan’s Economic Affairs Minister, Wang Mei-hua, highlighted the robust commercial ties between Taiwan and the United States, with a particular focus on the semiconductor sector. In a July address to the Legislative Yuan, Wang portrayed the bond as a collaborative partnership rather than competition, underscoring the reciprocal advantages and shared reliance characterizing the economic relations between the U.S. and Taiwan.

In a March 2022 interview with Fox Business, Trump shared his view that China could potentially invade Taiwan, attributing this possibility to what he saw as flaws in U.S. leadership. He suggested that Beijing might act sooner rather than later, indicating that President Xi Jinping was content with the current situation.