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How the Computer Chip Shortage Could Incite a U.S. Conflict With China

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The U.S. and Europe do not have the ability to mass-produce the most advanced designs that the Taiwanese foundry TSMC can make.

Credit: An Rong Xu/The New York Times

The war game scenario conducted by a Washington think tank began with a sudden failure at three Taiwanese semiconductor foundries that make high-end computer chips used in such items as smartphones, automobiles and military equipment.

The halt in production raised questions of whether a cyberattack by Beijing was responsible — touching off an international crisis between China and the United States that the researchers said could grind the global economy to a halt and incite a military confrontation.

The war game and study by the Center for a New American Security, which is set to be released on Thursday, illustrate how dependent the world is on Taiwanese computer chips — and how that dependence could draw the United States and China into various kinds of conflict.

The report comes as Congress has put new energy into bills to increase domestic production of semiconductors in the United States. Diversifying the global supply chain for computer chips is a key recommendation in the report.

From The New York Times
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