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Pelosi dined with Taiwan computer chip executives during her brief visit

The encounter was a reminder of how important Taiwan chip production is to U.S. national security

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei, Taiwan, on Aug. 3. (I-Hwa Cheng/Bloomberg)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) had lunch with two top executives from Taiwan’s biggest semiconductor manufacturer during her whistle-stop tour of the island, underscoring how vital computer chips have become to U.S. national security.

In a Facebook post on Wednesday, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen said that Pelosi and she attended a lunch with Morris Chang, the founder of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, and its chairman, Mark Liu, as well as Cheng Jianzhong, vice chairman of electronics manufacturer Pegatron.

“Everyone exchanged views on the deepening of cooperation between Taiwan and the United States in various fields. . . . Taiwan and the United States not only share the values of democracy, freedom and human rights, we also continue to work together on economic development and democratic supply chain cooperation,” Tsai said.

Taiwanese media, citing comments from a Taiwanese legislator, reported that Pelosi also held a separate conversation with TSMC’s Liu to discuss chips. TSMC spokeswoman Nina Kao said Liu attended the lunch but didn’t meet privately with Pelosi. The speaker’s office didn’t respond to a request for comment.

The discussions came just days after Congress passed the Chips and Science Act, which provides $52 billion in subsidies to incentivize chip manufacturers to build factories in the United States.

TSMC is expected to receive a chunk of those subsidies to help fund manufacturing facilities it is building in Arizona.

In a statement, Pelosi said her delegation “conveyed how our CHIPS and Science Act will go a long way to strengthening both our economies, as well as expressed our support for a 21st Century trade framework.”

TSMC is the world’s biggest chip manufacturer and a vital supplier to the United States and other Western nations. It is by far the largest of Taiwan’s chipmakers, which together produce more than 90 percent of the world’s highest-tech chips, according to the Semiconductor Industry Association. The United States uses TSMC-manufactured chips in F-35 fighter jets, Javelin missiles and other military equipment.

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