On GPS: Can China afford to attack Taiwan?
Fareed Zakaria, GPS
In a rare interview with Mark Liu, chairman of Taiwan's TSMC — Asia's most valuable company — Fareed asks about the ongoing tension between the self-governing island and Beijing. Source: CNN
What would happen to Taiwan, and to the Taiwanese economy, if China were to invade?
噢，當然，戰場上沒有贏家；所有人都是輸家。台灣人已在台灣建立起自己的民主系統，然後他們想過自己的生活。雖然半導體產業對台灣整體經濟來說十分重要，但如果真的發生戰爭的話，那或許半導體業不是最需要我們擔心的事。我們真正需要擔心的是這場戰爭將會摧毀以具有穩定秩序的世界經貿活動(the destruction of the world rule-based order)；整個地理政治將會有劇烈的變化。
Oh, of course, the war brings no winners. Everybody is losers. And people in Taiwan has earned their democratic system in Taiwan, and they want to choose their way of life. And we think that indeed the chip supply is a critical business and economy in Taiwan, but had it -- had it been a War in Taiwan, probably the chip is not the most important thing we should worry about because this invasion, if it comes after, is the destruction of the world rule-based order. There is no -- the geopolitical landscape would totally change.
你會擔心台灣目前在中國半導體供應鏈上所扮演的核心角色嗎? 這會對台灣造成甚麼危險嗎? 還是說其實有戰略上的嚇阻效果? 畢竟有時大家會說台積電是台灣的護國神山。不過即便如此，我們還是知道中國一直都強調「我們對台灣有絕對的主權，而且這是我們不可退讓的中國資產」。
Do you worry that Taiwan is now so integral to the Chinese supply chain at the high end?.. Does that create a danger for Taiwan? Or is it a deterrent? People sometimes talk about the TSMC shield, but you could equally see Beijing saying we need to have total control of this. This is the most valuable asset and it's outside our borders.
嗯，沒有國家能夠用武力控制台積電的，因為如果中國解放軍真的入侵台積電，台積電就完全不能運作了，因為這是一個十分複雜的龐大組織。台積電從原料、化學物質、設備零件、工程軟體與檢測等各面向都隨時都需要跟外面的世界，歐洲、日本、美國相互溝通合作。是在世界上的所有人的努力才能讓這間公司，台積電，能夠正常運作。所以假如你用武力侵占了台積電，那台積電就不可能正常運作了，也就沒有所謂的台積電了。至於我們與中國的生意，目前中國大概占了我們 10% 的生意吧，但我們只會跟一般企業與消費者做生意，我們不會將晶片賣給軍事組織。我們覺得說，消費市場是很重要的，而且是生生不息的。如果消費者有需求，那我想，跟他們做生意並不是甚麼壞事。
Ok. Nobody can control TSMC by force. If you take a military force or invasion, you will render TSMC factory not operable because this is such a sophisticated manufacturing facility. It depends on the real-time connection with the outside world, with Europe, with Japan, with the US, from materials, to chemicals, to spare parts, to engineering software, diagnosis. It's everybody's effort to make this factory operable. So if you take it over by force, you can no longer make it operable. In terms of the China business, its today composed about 10% of our business. We only work with consumer. We don't work with militaries entity. We think that is, the consumer pool, is important, and it is vibrant. And if they need us, it's not a bad thing.
Expand on that. Why is it not a bad thing?
Oh, because our interruption will create great economic turmoil in either side in China because suddenly their most advanced components supply disappeared. And -- and it is an interruption, I must say. So people will think twice on this. I think the Ukraine war, I think we should draw lessons from it. People think Ukraine will make connected with the Taiwan Strait. They are very different. But in case you think about imperil, Ukraine war is not good for any of the sides. From the Western world, from Russia, from Ukraine, it's lose, lose, lose scenarios. All three sides ought to draw lessons. I think they do. And we should use that lessons to look at the lens on Taiwan. How can we avoid a war? How can we ensure no -- the world economy -- the engine of the world economy continue humming and let's have a fair competition. That's what I think.
就你看來，你會怎麼解釋台灣的經濟奇蹟? 在過去五十年裡，台灣經濟成功達到每年有 5% 的經濟成長。世上很少能夠有著像台灣經濟成長幅度這樣的國家，你怎麼看呢?
From your perspective, what explains the Taiwan miracle? This is now a place that has grown at 5% a year for five decades. There are very few places in the world that have managed that. What explains the Taiwan miracle?
從外人的角度來看，會覺得這是一個奇蹟。但對認真工作的台灣人來說，這只是奮鬥的過程。老實說我覺得，相較於其他國家，尤其是在亞洲，我覺得台灣其中一個特點在於它那和平的社會。從 1949 年到現在，台灣一直都是相當和平的。這是個和平的地方。而在這期間，台灣從威權主義社會轉型成民主國家，變成一個民主社會。而如果你從整個世界的角度來看這點，如此這般和平的社會轉型是相當神奇的事情，我們是非常幸運的。而如果真要說奇蹟，我想台灣的確還有一點是相當與眾不同的，那就是我們的教育制度。
在我還小的時候，只有 10% 的人上大學。如今有 80% 的年輕人擁有大學文憑。我們政府設立了非常多間大學，所以對於所有年輕人來說，如果你想讀大學，那一定可以讀，只要你願意花時間，所以這建立了一個相對高品質的社會環境，以面對未來可能的種種挑戰，這是我覺得非常非常特別的一點。
Looking from outside, it appears to be a miracle. For the people working hard on the island, it is just a history of fighting. I think, to be honest, compared with other nations, particularly in Asia, I think one of the key components in Taiwan is a peaceful society. It maintained peace since 1949 till today, 70 years. It's a peaceful island. And during that period of time, Taiwan has transformed from authoritarian state into a democratic state, became a democratic society. This is marvelous because if you look at the nations around the world, having such a smooth transition, peaceful transition, we are fortunate, to be honest. But if you talk about the miracles, I also think there's one thing that is very distinctly different, is the education system. When I was young, only 10% of the young people entered college or universities. Today, 80% of the young people have college or university degrees. The government set up many colleges, universities. And every kid, if you want to go to university, you can go, and just so long as you spend time. So that has created a relatively good quality of population in Taiwan, posing for any change ahead. That's why I think that's very, very special.
為什麼其他人都很難做出你做的晶片呢? 我現在在想的是你們的七奈米，美國有非常多擁有輝煌歷史的偉大公司，像是 Intel。而中國則是撒了數十億的資金去開設晶圓廠，但都沒有人能做出你們的晶片。
Why is it so difficult for anyone to make the chips that you make? And I'm thinking now about the 7 nanometer. The Americans have these great companies that have huge history, like Intel. The Chinese pour tens of billions of dollars into new companies. But no one can make the chips you make.
Well, they can, just a few years later. It's ... hahaha ...
But that's all the difference in this business.
沒錯，這是唯一的關鍵。我想我們是把半導體技術本身看做是一門科學，但也是一門生意。這不是組裝零件那樣而已。當然，這一切都得歸功於我們與其他夥伴的合作。我們的工程師甚至因為 COVID 而戴上 AR (擴充虛擬實境) 跟遠在荷蘭以及加州的工程師合作，我們就是這麼密切的合作，共同推進最先進的半導體技術。我只能說這麼多了，沒辦法跟你透漏與解釋所有細節。
You're right. That's all the difference. I think we treat the semiconductor technology itself as a business, as a science. It's not assembly workers. And, of course, I credit this to be working with our partners. Even the COVID time, our engineer used the AR, augmented reality, lenses to work with engineer in Netherland, work with engineer in California. And that's how close we work together. And together, we push the frontier of the semiconductor technologies. I cannot tell you everything why.
You're not going to tell me the secret formula of coca cola. Finally, tell me what you think will look like in the future, technologically, economically. What are your hopes?
I hope that we don't get discriminated because we are close to China. No matter your relationship with China, Taiwan is Taiwan. You have to look at Taiwan as, by itself, a vibrant society. We want to unleash the innovation for the world, into the future, continuously, and not to be scared because we have some dispute with our neighbors. And that is not worth it.
這你這樣好像是在跟世界說 ── 如果我理解錯誤請糾正我 ── 不要害怕中國說的那些話。因為中國永遠不可能接手台灣。台灣經濟是建立於全球合作，建立於信任與公開透明之上。如果他們侵入台灣，他們會發現實際上他們甚麼也沒拿到。
But it seems to me you're saying to the world -- correct me if I'm wrong -- you're saying to the world, don't be scared by what China is saying because the Chinese will never be able to take. The Taiwanese economy is built on this global collaboration, -- on trust, on openness, on -- they'll find they've taken over nothing, if they come in.
Correct, yes, I do believe so. So the world can only create problem on three sides, all three sides. And that is -- we need to prepare the worst, but we should hope for the best.
你剛有提到烏克蘭戰爭是 lose-lose-lose，所以你希望可以 win-win-win。
So you said about the Ukraine war, it's lose-lose-lose. Your hope is for a win-win-win.
Yes, if you have a war, then it will be that. If this is peaceful, well, it's upon the competition strategies on all three sides. And I think that nobody in the business world want to see a war happen. And why do we jump again into another trap?
Thank you for taking so much time
We enjoy talking to you.
(zero game 2)(sun over mountain)(praying)