The persistent threat of China invading Taiwan – 60 Minutes

“This is not a matter of if they will invade, it’s a matter of when they will invade.”

That’s what Admiral Lee Hsi-min, who used to head Taiwan’s armed forces, told correspondent Lesley Stahl about China this week on 60 Minutes. Tensions between Taiwan and China have been ratcheting up recently. In August, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan. China responded by carrying out its largest military drill ever.

For three days China subjected Taiwan to continuous sorties with over 100 warplanes, a barrage of ballistic missiles, and warships that encircled the island. The purpose was to deliver a loud and clear message: China could choke off Taiwan any time it wanted to.

But even with that show of force, Stahl found many in Taiwan do not share Admiral Lee’s sense of urgency.

People Stahl talked to told her over and over the military drill was “no big deal.” China has been doing it since 1949, when Mao Tse Tung won China’s civil war and the losing anti-communist side fled to the small, nearby island that is now Taiwan.

And while much of the world thought an invasion might be imminent, polls showed that a majority of Taiwanese think that is unlikely any time soon, if ever.

A big reason for that line of thinking comes from Taiwan’s manufacturing sector. The country is a tech giant, particularly in semiconductors. Taiwan is practically the world’s only source of the thinnest microchips, manufactured almost exclusively by one company: TSMC.

China relies on those chips, as does the rest of the world, for things like iPhones, advanced computers, and car components.

Morris Chang, TSMC’s 91-year-old founder, explained why some Taiwanese think the chips protect them from Xi Jinping’s attacking.

“Perhaps because our company provides a lot of chips to the world, maybe somebody will refrain from attacking it,” Chang told Stahl. “If that person’s priority is for economic well-being, I think they will refrain from attacking.”

“What if the priority is to come here and nationalize your company within’One China’?” Stahl asked.

“If there’s a war, I mean, it would be destroyed. Everything will be destroyed,” Chang said.

Wang Ting-yu, a parliamentarian from southern Taiwan, shared…