Daily: 10/08/2022

Race for Semiconductors Influences Taiwan Conflict 

China has blocked many of Taiwan’s exports in retaliation for U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan on August 2, but certain goods including semiconductors and high-tech products have been spared because of China’s reliance on those products from Taiwan, experts say.

“It is unlikely that Beijing will take serious trade actions against electronic exports from Taiwan. Doing so would be China shooting itself in its own foot,” Dexter Roberts, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, told VOA.

Taiwan makes 65% of the world’s semiconductors and almost 90% of the advanced chips.

By comparison, China produces a little over 5% while the U.S. produces approximately 10%, according to market analysts. South Korea, Japan, and the Netherlands are the other sources of the product, which is at the heart of many electronic devices and machinery.

Though China produces some semiconductors, it depends heavily on supplies from Taiwan for advanced chips. Taiwan’s TSMC makes most of the advanced chips in the world and counts Advanced Micro Devices, Apple and Nvidia among its customers.

Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. (SMIC) in China, which has 5% of the global fabrication market, produces 14-nanometer chips. There is also evidence that SMIC has 7-nm technology, according to a TechInsights blog. These are considered less advanced than the 3-nm chips produced by TSMC.

Beijing may not block the flow of semiconductors even if the military confrontation escalates, analysts say.

“Taiwan-based TSMC is the biggest world producer of chips, and China and the rest of the world need TSMC semiconductors. Hence, I don’t expect China to target electronic exports,” said Lourdes Casanova, Gail and Rob Canizares director of the Emerging Markets Institute at Cornell University.

Though China’s People’s Liberation Army says it is rehearsing to impose a military blockade around Taiwan, it will be careful not to hurt semiconductor companies like TSMC, Casanova said.

“The stoppage of supply of TSMC semiconductors would be the worst scenario for China and for many other countries. TSMC’s semiconductors are used by Foxconn, another Taiwanese firm, which is the main manufacturer of the iPhone in plants based in China and elsewhere,” she said.

Fear of invasion

A military invasion of Taiwan could disrupt supplies of semiconductors and seriously hamper dozens of high-tech companies that depend on them. TSMC Chairman Mark Liu voiced that fear when he said a military invasion would make TSMC factories inoperable.

“Our interruption would create great economic turmoil in China — suddenly their most advanced component supply disappears. It is an interruption, I must say, so people will think twice on this,” Liu said.

“Nobody can control TSMC by force … because it is a sophisticated manufacturing facility that depends on the real-time connection with the outside world,” such as Europe, the U.S. and Japan, for materials, chemicals and engineering software, he said.

Even with China’s ban on certain imports from Taiwan, analysts said, Taiwan is unlikely to retaliate because it is heavily dependent on Beijing in terms of trade and investment.

“Companies like TSMC are deeply reliant simultaneously on both the U.S. and China markets. Unless the situation in the Taiwan Strait badly deteriorates and turns to outright open hostilities, Taiwan will try to avoid taking any drastic action which would be cutting off chips to China,” said Roberts, author of The Myth of Chinese Capitalism.


China’s domestic manufacturing

China has been pushing to boost its domestic semiconductor manufacturing capacity. Beijing has pledged $150 billion to expand the industry and be more self-reliant. Plans are in place for new semiconductor factories.

Just last year, China’s chip manufacturing grew by 33.3%, according to China’s National Bureau of Statistics.

“China’s rapid growth in semiconductor chip sales is likely to continue due in large part to the unwavering commitment from the central government and robust policy support in the face of deteriorating U.S-China relations,” the Semiconductor Industry Association said in a blog.

Much of what will be produced in China is expected to be chips containing more mature technologies, analysts say.

US action

Under President Joe Biden, the U.S. has intensified efforts to strengthen its chip-making capabilities and reduce the reliance on external sources.

On Tuesday, Biden signed the much-awaited CHIPS and Science Act, which allocates around $52 billion to promote the production of microchips, the powerful driver for high-end electronics used in a wide range of products, including smartphones, electric vehicles, aircraft and military hardware.

Biden said the legislation would help “win the economic competition in the 21st century.”

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said last month that it was necessary to reduce the dependence on supplies from Taiwan.

“Our dependence on Taiwan for chips is untenable and unsafe,” she said on July 22. “This is a Sputnik moment for America,” Raimondo said, referring to the CHIPS Act. “I mean that very sincerely. And this is a project we’re working on.”

Taiwan’s TSMC website states it is building a fabrication plant in the U.S. state of Arizona with the aim of starting production in 2024. It will produce semiconductor wafers using 5-nm technology.  During her recent controversial visit to Taiwan, Pelosi met TSMC’s Liu. TSMC is expected to be one of the beneficiaries of the $52 billion CHIPS and Science Act.

The U.S. is also countering China’s semiconductor industry in different ways. It recently broadened its ban on sales of chip-making equipment to China, according to Tim Archer, the chief executive officer of Lam Research Corp., a California supplier of silicon wafer fabrication gear.

The restriction would affect the shipment of machinery to produce 14 nm chips in China. This is an extension of the earlier ban, which prevented the supply of machinery for making advanced technology nodes of 10 nanometers. The idea is to cover a wider range of semiconductor equipment going to China.

South Korea, a U.S. ally, has indicated it would also cut off the chip supply to China in case Washington imposed global sanctions on it. Cutting off supplies would put China and Russia at a major technological disadvantage and hamper their manufacture of advanced military hardware. 

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З’явилися перші супутникові знімки після вибухів на російському військовому полігоні у Криму – Схеми

На фото видно пошкоджену російську авіацію, зокрема, винищувачі типу Су-30СМ та бомбардувальники Су-24М

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Угорщина може відмовитися від російської нафти – Лана Зеркаль розповіла, як 

За словами радниці міністра, Угорщина поводиться «як наркоман, який сидить на голці і не хоче відмовлятися від своєї залежності»

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UN: Movement of Grain Ships from Ukraine ‘Encouraging’

A senior U.N. official said Wednesday that a deal to move stranded Ukrainian grain that had been blocked in silos and Black Sea ports is working well, with more than 370,000 tons of food stuffs moved in the first week.

“Three hundred and seventy-thousand metric tons in the initial phase of this operation, I think is a very encouraging sign,” said Fred Kenney, the U.N. representative at the Istanbul-based Joint Coordination Centre, which oversees the deal.

The JCC has representatives from Russia, Turkey, Ukraine and the United Nations. It was established under the July 22 Black Sea Grain Initiative, signed in Istanbul to monitor the safe movement of commercial ships to and from Ukraine’s southern ports for the purpose of exporting food items to international markets.

More than two dozen ships have been stuck in Ukraine’s ports since Russia invaded on February 24. A dozen have been authorized to sail or left so far.

“It is imperative upon us now, to get those ships out, so that we can bring ships in to load cargos that will be destined for ports that will contribute to reducing global food insecurity,” said Kenney, who is also the director of legal affairs for the International Maritime Organization, the U.N. agency responsible for regulating the global shipping industry.

He told reporters in a video call from Istanbul that the JCC has seen a “tremendous willingness” from shippers to cross the Bosporus into the Black Sea to pick up grain cargo at the ports of Odesa, Chernomorsk and Pivdennyi (also known as Yuzhny) and that there are a number of empty grain vessels waiting in Turkish anchorages for contracts. Four ships have already been authorized to enter Ukraine’s ports.

More than 20 million tons of grain await export to the world market. The U.N. says global grain prices have already started to drop since the initiative was signed nearly three weeks ago.

The JCC’s role is to make sure ships transit safely along a demarcated humanitarian corridor as much of the Black Sea has been mined.

“Thus far, we haven’t had any safety issues with any of the vessels that transited. None reported any floating hazards to navigation,” Kenney told reporters.

The JCC also is tasked with looking for unauthorized personnel or cargo – be it food items not covered by the terms of the grain deal or illicit weapons.

“We haven’t found anything that would violate the terms of the initiative,” he confirmed.

Commercial ships leaving Ukraine have headed for destinations in Turkey, Britain, China, Ireland, Italy and South Korea, carrying loads of corn, soya, sunflower meal and sunflower oil. Kenney said the first ship that is coming in to pick up wheat has been cleared and should sail out next week.

He described the voyage from Odesa to Istanbul, saying it takes between a day and a half to two days. Inspections take between two to four hours at the Istanbul inspection area. From there vessels transit the Black Sea on a largely open route until they reach the Romanian-Ukrainian maritime border. Ships are forbidden to enter the humanitarian corridor from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. for visibility and safety reasons.

“We are looking at our procedures to see ways we can cut time on the inspection side without sacrificing the accuracy and the completeness of those inspections,” he said.

The JCC also monitors ships to warn them of any military threats. Kenney said they can contact vessels immediately if there is action near the maritime humanitarian corridor and could order them to stop or turn around to avoid danger.

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Russian Surveillance Aircraft Spotted Near Alaskan Air Space

The U.S. military says Russian military surveillance aircraft entered the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone on two separate occasions over the past two days.

U.S. F-22 fighter jets intercepted the second aircraft upon entering the airspace, a defense official told VOA. Both entries involved the same type of Russian surveillance aircraft, the official added.

An Air Defense Identification Zone extends beyond a country’s airspace to include an area in which a country tries to identify, locate and control aircraft in the interest of national security.

The Russian aircraft remained in international airspace and did not enter American or Canadian sovereign airspace, according to social media posts by North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD, on Wednesday.

“We remain ready to employ a number of response options in defense of North America and Arctic sovereignty,” the post added.

This is the first reported incident of Russian military aircraft nearing Alaskan airspace in 2022, but sightings have become common in recent years.

Russian military aircraft were tracked in the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone 14 times in 2020, a high in recent years, with six such incidents occurring within a span of just one month.

Russia launched a massive invasion into Ukraine in February.

Speaking to VOA earlier this year, Senator Dan Sullivan of Alaska said the U.S. military has had to “scramble” more fighter jets in recent years to intercept Russian military aircraft “probably more than any other time since the mid-1980s.”

“They’re aggressive here, too, and the only thing that [Russian President Vladimir] Putin understands, and the only thing in my view that [Chinese President] Xi Jinping understands in this new era of authoritarian aggression is power,” Sullivan said.


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Міністр оборони США анонсував збільшення військових навчань для країн Балтії

За його словами, Вашингтон також може розмістити більше американських військ для зміцнення регіону проти загрози з боку Росії

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Росія вимагає засідання Ради безпеки ООН через ситуацію на Запорізькій АЕС

Росія хоче, щоб глава агентства ООН з атомної енергії виступив перед учасниками зустрічі зі звітом

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«Чергова дешева вистава»: Подоляк про заклик Росії до засідання Радбезу ООН через Запорізьку АЕС

«Світ не працює за правилами російського телебачення», заявив представник ОП

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Polio Spreading in London, Booster Campaign Launched for Kids Under 10

Britain is launching a polio vaccine booster campaign for children in London aged below 10, after confirming that the virus is spreading in the capital for the first time since the 1980s. 

The UK Health Security Agency has identified 116 polioviruses from 19 sewage samples this year in London. It first raised the alert on finding the virus in sewage samples in June.  

The levels of poliovirus found since and the genetic diversity indicated that transmission was taking place in a number of London boroughs, the agency said on Wednesday. 

No cases have yet been identified but, in a bid to get ahead of a potential outbreak, GPs will now invite children aged 1-9 for booster vaccines, alongside a wider catch-up campaign already announced. Immunization rates across London vary, but are on average below the 95% coverage rate the World Health Organization suggests is needed to keep polio under control. 

Polio, spread mainly through contamination by faecal matter, used to kill and paralyse thousands of children annually worldwide. There is no cure, but vaccination brought the world close to ending the wild, or naturally occurring, form of the disease. It paralyses less than 1% of children who are infected. 

The virus found in London sewage is mainly the vaccine-like virus, which is found when children vaccinated with a particular kind of live vaccine — now only used overseas — shed the virus in their feces. This harmless virus can transmit between unvaccinated children, and while doing so, can mutate back into a more dangerous version of the virus, and cause illness. 

Last month, the United States found a case of paralytic polio outside New York in an unvaccinated individual, its first for a decade. The UKHSA said the case was genetically linked to the virus seen in London.  

Britain is also expanding surveillance for polio to other sites outside London to see if the virus has spread further. The risk to the wider population is assessed as low because most people are vaccinated even if rates are below the optimal levels to prevent spread. 

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Stranded Whale Euthanized After Removal From French River 

A beluga whale that captured French hearts when it showed up in the Seine River had to be euthanized Wednesday after it was successfully removed from the French waterway, authorities said.

A rescue team was preparing to transfer the whale to a saltwater pool in Normandy. The male marine mammal was first spotted in the Seine last week after having accidentally veered off its normal path to the Arctic.

During the rescue operation, the dangerously thin animal began to have breathing difficulties, and so experts decided the most humane thing to do was to euthanize the creature.

“During the journey, the veterinarians confirmed a worsening of its state, notably its respiratory activities, and at the same time noticed the animal was in pain, not breathing enough,” Florence Ollivet Courtois, a French wild animal expert, said. “The suffering was obvious for the animal, so it was important to release its tension, and so we had to proceed to euthanize it.”

Conservation group Sea Shepherd France said veterinary exams after the beluga’s removal from the river showed it has no digestive activity. Members of the organization had tried unsuccessfully since Friday to feed fish to the whale.

Courtois said the whale experienced distress after it was moved to a refrigerated truck and during the approximately 160-kilometer (99-mile) drive to the Normandy coast.

The whale was expected to spend several days recuperating in the saltwater pool in the northeastern French port town of Ouistreham before being towed out to sea.

The rescue team said ahead of time that the transfer carried a risk of the whale dying because of the stress involved in the process. However, the move was deemed necessary because the animal would not have been able to survive in much longer in the Seine’s fresh water.

“The decision to euthanize the beluga was taken as it was too weakened to be put back into water,” Guillaume Lericolais, the subprefect of France’s Calvados region, said.

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Кулеба закликав Євросоюз і G7 не видавати візи громадянам Росії

Російські громадяни «мають бути позбавлені права перетинати міжнародні кодони, доки не навчаться їх поважати»

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US Moves Finland’s, Sweden’s Accession to NATO a Step Closer

The U.S. has completed its final step in ratifying NATO’s expansion to include Sweden and Finland. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports on the most significant expansion of the military alliance in more than two decades, which needs only seven more countries for completion

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У Білому домі відреагували на вибухи в Криму

США вкотре заявили про підтримку зусиль України із захисту свого суверенітету і своєї територіальної цілісності

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VOA Interview: Lithuania President Gitanas Nauseda

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda discussed the challenges for his country caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine earlier this year with VOA’s Eastern Europe Bureau Chief Myroslava Gongadze on Tuesday in Vilnius.

“Nothing less than democracy and the world order is at stake in that war,” Nauseda told VOA. “There is no limit for the appetite of Vladimir Putin. I don’t know who will be the next target, the Baltic countries, Poland, maybe Romania.”

This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.

VOA: Thank you very much for making time to talk to us. You had been to Ukraine on February 23rd, just before the war. At that moment, did you grasp the risk that Ukrainians are in? And did you expect that war would happen so soon?

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda: You know, this threat was in the air. And [Ukrainian] President [Volodymyr] Zelenskyy said that they expect[ed] that the war will, uh, break up in the next 24 to 48 hours. And it happened, let’s say, after eight or 10 hours, we left Ukrainian soil. Yes, the war was terrible, and probably our Ukrainian partners just could not imagine that this war will be organized, if I can express it like this, on such broad scale, broad, broad efforts of Russian troops to try to, first of all, to attack Kyiv, and also the war broke up in other parts of Ukraine, and now we see that this war is much longer than Russia could expect, fortunately. Yes, of course, I understand that it brings a lot of casualties, human lives are [at] stake, and of course, destroyed civil infrastructure. But this is also the fight for not only Ukrainian democracy and Ukrainian territorial integrity, but also the fight for democratic values at all. And this is very important to mention, that Ukraine is fighting very bravely, not only for its freedom but for our freedom, too.

VOA: What do you think Russia is doing? What is [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s goal?

Nauseda: I think Putin miscalculated the scenario of this war, the expectations were totally different. Putin expected that they will take over Ukrainian capital Kyiv in a few days, and this war will not bring any huge political and economic consequences on Russia. But we see that it turned out to be totally different. And what is very important to mention that, until the war, the reaction of European politicians, and other countries, too, was, how to say, subdued, if I could express it like this, because nobody expected that this war and the real attempts of Russia are so terrible, and they are ambitions to conquer Ukraine. And afterwards, in the first days of the war, I saw a big commitment and a totally different attitude of my colleagues in [the] European Union to act, to do something, in order first of all to stop the war. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen, but then we realized that if we had to do more in order to, first of all, to bring war to, yes, to bring on the table very clear consequences on Russia, and Russia must see what will be the consequences. So the first package of sanctions, second, third, fifth. And now we see that European politicians and the countries of European Union understand very well what are the threats posed by Russian authorities. It was not the case, because I remember our discussions in European Council, bilateral meetings. We try to convince our partners. …

VOA: Who is we? When you said we, who is we? Because I understand that your country, Poland, other countries. …

Nauseda: … Poland, Romania, all Eastern European countries, which are exposed to these threats very directly, and we hear very well and really, we listen what Putin is saying, because some. …

VOA: And Western European countries didn’t really realize and underestimated. …

Nauseda: Theoretically, maybe, but the real reactions, they’re not adequate to the rhetoric Putin allowed him to express all this time. And this is the reason why I think it’s very important to understand that Europe is different. Europe understands the threats much better. Of course, Europe is still dependent in many areas, for example, energy dependence. Still, this is a very hot issue. This is not the issue in my country. Lithuania implemented all necessary changes, spent a lot of money in order to change the infrastructure, to create the infrastructure, to be independent in energy field, and we did it. And now we can probably say that Lithuania is not dependent, and Lithuania stopped to buy Russian oil, Russian gas, Russian electricity, so they cannot do anything to us in this regard.

VOA: This dependency on energy resources built up in the last 20 years, specifically with Germany, with France, with other countries. Why do you think that such an underestimation of Russian threats was built and kind of persuaded in the minds of politicians in Western Europe?

Nauseda: I cannot reject the assumption that economic interests, first of all, are there. Money, profit, cheaper energy resources and possibilities to do business with. But another reason was assumptions that we have to deal with totally different kind of policy or politicians in Moscow. Because sometimes I think my colleagues thought that probably Putin is a little bit different, but okay, we can do business with him because we can negotiate. We can talk. We can try to convince, to bring our arguments. And he could not understand that the arguments do not play any role to him, because the main ideology with this regime is to conquer as much as possible, to expand, to find the neighbors we could attack, and this is very clear if you read what they are saying in Moscow, they try to rebuild their empire. They try to restore the Soviet Union in one or another shape. And as you mentioned, as you remember that Putin mentioned that the collapse of Soviet Union was the largest disaster of 20th century. And now they consequently and very logically try to reestablish Soviet Union, and this means not only the risk and threats to Ukraine. This means huge threats to all of us and this time maybe even to those countries which were not a part of former Soviet Union, the countries of Western Europe, too.

VOA: Your country was part of Soviet Union. Does your country feel safe in this environment? And do you think that NATO, your allies in NATO would come to defend you, fully? What is your readiness for the threats?

Nauseda: My response will be very simple. We feel safer as we are [from] 2004, because in 2004, Lithuania became the member of two very important organizations, European Union and NATO. I like to say this sentence and I repeated this sentence many times, European Union was for a better life, NATO was for life. And this is still valid, and this is very important. Yes, we strongly believe in Article 5, we strongly believe in the reassurances of our partners to defend each inch of our soil. But this does not mean that we cannot put additional efforts in order to improve our security, too. We did a lot in this country in order to modernize our army, modernize our military forces, to create better infrastructure to be able to accommodate additional troops from our NATO allies. And we increased our military spending up to 2.5 % of our GDP. And we are ready to provide even more financial resources in order to fulfill all the requirements, which could be adequate to the current situation, the geopolitical situation. And this is very important to mention that Lithuania feels safe, but we have to be aware of these risks because we have to deal with a very dangerous neighbor and the best proof is the situation in Ukraine.

VOA: What is at stake in Ukraine today?

Nauseda: Democracy, the world order… international security situation is [at] stake, and of course [it’s] very important to mention that there’s no limit for the appetite of Vladimir Putin. If they will be successful in Ukraine, they will be at our doors, too. And I don’t know who will be their next target, Baltic countries, maybe Poland, maybe Romania, but this is not the most important question. The most important issue is, we have to do or in the NATO format, in European Union format in order to prevent, to stop Putin. Putin has to finalize his operation, as he calls it, in Ukraine. And I hope very much that Ukraine will be successful, and we will stand together with Ukraine until the victory, of course until the victory of Ukraine. And nowadays we see a lot of assurances coming from Western European leaders, and also other leaders in the world that they are ready to provide military assistance to Ukraine. European Union is strongly committed to impose sanctions and to continue sanctions policy in the future. This is very important because so far, we did a lot, but this is not enough to stop Putin. And we have to realize it and to understand it, that we have to do more, especially military assistance, in the short-term military assistance probably this is the most important problem. In the longer run, there will be very important issues related to humanitarian aid, macroeconomic assistance and so on. But now we understand very well that their conflict will be solved, not sitting at the negotiation table. The conflict will be solved in the battlefield.

VOA: I want to ask you about the role of the United States, because they basically pushed this international coalition and they were warning Ukraine about the possible threats from Russia for a couple of months prior to the war. Do you think the United States is doing enough in this fight? And who do you think should be a leader of this push to stop Putin in the region?

Nauseda: I would expect United States should be the leader, but I would say that actually the United States is a leader in providing military assistance, political support, and this is very important. This is very important, but, of course, I would expect that the speed of the decision making, commitment to provide more assistance and … speed is probably the most important issue right now. Yes, we are talking about additional military equipment, lethal weapons and other equipment. But this is very important that Ukrainians need it today not tomorrow or after tomorrow. And each day brings a lot of casualties, as I mentioned, and people are suffering, destroyed cities and so on, and of course we have to stop it as soon as possible, and the United States’ role in this is crucial. The European Union plays also very important role, but I think we have to deal in solidarity, and we have to be solider and they see the solidarity right now, the United States, the European Union, also like-minded countries in Asia. I see this solidarity and they saw their solidarity in NATO summit in Madrid, where we took very important decisions, bold decisions on the NATO strengthening. Defining Russia as a long-term threat, also very important element of our conclusions in the Madrid summit, and for my country and for Eastern European region, there are very important decisions to mention, for example, forward defense status in [the] Eastern European region. Also brigade-size, -level support and military presence in my country. As you’ll know Germany is a leading country of EFP [Enhanced Forward Protection]. And this is very important to our people, especially probably to our people, to hear that our allies are ready to provide additional support to Lithuania, because security right now is even outpacing the importance of economic and social issues.

VOA: We established already that Russia broke international law and they’re trying to push all the boundaries and rules. However, Russia is still a member of the Security Council of the U.N. Russia has a veto position in the OECD [Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development] organization and many other organizations. Do you think something has to be done with it?

Nauseda: Unfortunately, this is the reason why we have to find additional formats or maybe alternative formats to deal with Russia, because, yes, you mentioned that United Nations’ Security Council … Russia can create a lot of obstacles [there]. … And this is the reason why we have to find some other formats. I still believe the importance in the United Nations in other fields, for example, providing the channels or trying to solve the issue of grain export to the third countries and secretary-general [Antonio Guterres] put a lot of effort in order to solve this issue and probably in such formats, United Nations would be quite effective instrument to provide additional support to Ukraine. But we have to find also other formats, bilateral formats are important, too. I mentioned the European Union and I mentioned NATO, but bilateral support: Germany, France, the United States and even smaller-sized countries. This bilateral support is very important and I heard it from President Zelenskyy during my last visit in Kyiv, which was organized on the statehood day, as you know, Ukraine is celebrating the first time the statehood day. And it was very important to me to attend this event in Kyiv. I held the speech in Verkhovna Rada [parliament] and President Zelensky said to me, Lithuania did a lot and probably it is a good example to other countries. They can provide and they can be even more effective by providing needed support to Ukraine. But we are strongly committed, and this is not only the opinion or commitment of our political elite, this is a commitment of all people of Lithuania or almost all.

VOA: You are committed, Poland is committed. Germany is reluctant. How do you try and do you feel you are successful in persuading other countries to do more?

Nauseda: Maybe someone could be skeptical about the attitude or the German position in the last months, but I see huge progress. Because I couldn’t, I can compare the situation with the situation, let’s say, a few months ago as Germany was reluctant, really reluctant to provide any kind of lethal weapons to Ukraine. Now it’s not the case. Now we are talking about the speed of decision making and this is huge progress. And I think in the thinking we see this shift. The shift of thinking is also evident, and I think this is our contribution, too. We try to talk, we try to establish the needed dialogue with our colleagues in Germany and I think they react also to the public opinion, too, because public opinion is very clear, too. I remember my visit in Berlin at the end of February and I had the possibility to attend the meeting against the war in Ukraine on [February 26, two days after Russia invaded Ukraine]. I returned home and the next day, I heard that there was a meeting on [February 27], 100,000 people [in Germany were protesting], and on Saturday, maybe 500. So you see the dynamic in the public opinion in Germany and this is very important that people understand that they have to do this. Germany is not, how to say, free of threats imposed or posed by Russia. Germany is also the target. Like Lithuania, Romania or other countries of Eastern Europe.

VOA: How do you see this war end?

Nauseda: I do not see any other alternative, and we have to put all efforts in order to achieve the victory of Ukraine in this war, because all other scenarios would be very dark for Ukraine itself, for Lithuania and for the whole democratic world.

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Lithuania President Gitanas Nauseda Speaks to VOA

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda discussed the challenges for his country caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine earlier this year with VOA’s Eastern Europe Bureau Chief Myroslava Gongadze on Tuesday in Vilnius.

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Тайвань назвав військові навчання Китаю «підготовкою до вторгнення»

Зі свого боку, речник МЗС Китаю назвав навчання попередженням для «підбурювачів» і «тайванських сепаратистів»

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З порту під Одесою вийшло найбільше з 24 лютого судно із продовольством

На борту судна Ocean Line найбільший вантаж з усіх інших суден

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Biden Signs Semiconductor Bill Boosting US Competitiveness

U.S. President Joe Biden has signed the CHIPS and Science Act, which aims to boost U.S. competitiveness against China by allocating billions of dollars toward domestic semiconductor manufacturing and scientific research.

“The United States must lead the world in the production of these advanced chips. This law will do exactly that,” Biden said in remarks during the signing ceremony Tuesday. The president is recovering from COVID-19 and coughed repeatedly during his remarks.

He called the bipartisan legislation a “once in a generation investment” in the country and said it will create good jobs, grow the economy and protect U.S. national security.

Biden noted stiff competition with China in the chips industry. “It’s no wonder the Chinese Communist Party actively lobbied U.S. business against this bill,” he remarked.

Biden was joined on stage for the event by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, and Joshua Aviv, CEO of Spark Charge, an electric vehicle charging network.

Schumer called the legislation the “largest investment in manufacturing science and innovation in decades” and thanked Republican Senator Todd Young for his partnership for over three years working on semiconductor-related legislation, beginning with what was then called the Endless Frontier Act.

The proposed act went through various iterations before it was passed as the $280 billion CHIPS and Science Act on a 243-187 vote in the House of Representatives and a 64-33 vote in the Senate in July.

Last year, a semiconductor shortage affected the supply of automobiles, electronic appliances and other goods, causing higher inflation globally and pummeling Biden’s public approval rating among American voters.

Catching up in the chips race

The CHIPS Act includes $52 billion in incentives for domestic semiconductor production and research, as well as an investment tax credit for semiconductor manufacturing. Advocates say it will allow the U.S. to catch up in the global semiconductor manufacturing race currently dominated by China, Taiwan and South Korea.

Following the passage of the bill, the White House noted that Micron, a leading U.S. chip manufacturer, will announce a $40 billion plan to boost domestic chip production while Qualcomm and GlobalFoundries will unveil a $4.2 billion expansion of a chip plant in New York.

The U.S. share of global semiconductor manufacturing capacity has decreased from 37% in 1990 to 12% today, largely because other governments have offered manufacturing incentives and invested in research to strengthen domestic chipmaking capabilities, according to a state of the industry report by the Semiconductor Industry Association.

Now China accounts for 24% of the world’s semiconductor production, followed by Taiwan at 21%, South Korea at 19% and Japan at 13%, the report said.

The CHIPS Act also includes $4.2 billion to fund defense initiatives and the U.S. mobile broadband market, particularly efforts to promote non-Chinese 5G equipment manufacturing.

Broadly, the legislation lays out a strategy for Washington as it aims for global technological and economic dominance – gaining production autonomy by leveraging allies, including South Korea and Japan and eliminating political dependencies on the global semiconductor supply chain.

That strategy puts the U.S. on a collision course with China, which also aims to be the global leader in semiconductors. In 2015, Beijing launched the Made in China 2025 project, which aimed to increase chip production from less than 10% of global demand at the time to 40% in 2020 and 70% in 2025.

The Taiwan factor

Taiwan — a self-governed island that Beijing claims to be its breakaway province — is the main producer of the world’s most high-tech chips. It lies at the heart of the semiconductor showdown, the latest battlefront in the increasingly tense U.S.-China strategic rivalry.

Taiwan accounts for 92% of the global production of 10 nm or smaller semiconductors, essentially creating what some observers have characterized as a “silicon shield” that ensures American support in the event of a Chinese attack, as well as a deterrence against such a move.

In a visit to Taipei that angered Beijing earlier this month, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi met with Mark Liu, chairman of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., the world’s biggest chipmaker.

Pelosi delivered all but one Democratic vote in the House of Representatives for the CHIPS Act. “Mr. President with the stroke of your pen, America declares our economic independence,” she said in her remarks Tuesday. “We strengthen our national security, and we enhance our family’s financial future.”

Following Pelosi’s Taiwan visit, Beijing halted key communication channels with Washington and conducted live-fire military drills, raining Dongfeng ballistic missiles into the waters near Taiwan’s eastern, southern, and northern coasts.

While most experts don’t believe a war over Taiwan is imminent, many fear a conflict there would disrupt semiconductor production and have disastrous effects on global manufacturing.

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