• Reuters

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Japan called for greater collaboration with Taiwan on semiconductors Tuesday at a bilateral economic and trade meeting.

Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association Chairman Mitsuo Ohashi praised Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd (TSMC)’s plans to expand in Japan, saying, “I hope these collaborations can continue to expand, and positively impact the resilience of both Taiwan and Japan’s supply chains.

“Currently, even though the pandemic has blocked exchanges between Japan and Taiwan, the economic and trade relationships between Japan and Taiwan have continued to deepen,” Ohashi added via a videoconference link.

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

The Taiwan-Japan Economic and Trade Conference has typically been held in Taiwan or Japan each year, but the two sides met virtually this week because of the pandemic.

TSMC, the world’s largest contract chipmaker, announced last year that it would set up a research and development center in Japan, as well as a $7 billion (¥807 billion) chip plant with Sony Group.

Technology powerhouse Taiwan is at the forefront of efforts to resolve a shortage of chips that has hampered auto production lines and affected consumer electronics makers around the world.

Chiou I-jen, chairman of the Taiwan-Japan Relations Association, thanked Japan for supporting Taiwan’s bid in September to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). He said Taiwan hoped both sides could start a “constructive dialogue” on Taiwan joining the trade pact as soon as possible.

“Taiwan is of crucial importance to the world’s supply chain, economy and trade,” Chiou said, speaking at a Japanese hotel in Taipei. “If (Taiwan) can join the CPTPP, it will greatly increase the importance and visibility of this pact in the global economy.”

Taiwan’s bid angered China, which views the island as one of its provinces with no right to the trappings of a state. Taiwan says it is an independent country and has vowed to defend its freedom and democracy.

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