On the morning of November 21, the Presidential Office held a press conference for our delegation to the 2022 APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting (AELM) upon its return to Taiwan. Leader's Representative Dr. Morris Chang (張忠謀), accompanied by Minister without Portfolio John C. C. Deng (鄧振中), Minister without Portfolio and National Development Council Minister Kung Ming-hsin (龔明鑫), National Security Council (NSC) Deputy Secretary-General Hsu Szu-chien (徐斯儉), and Director-General Sharon S. N. Wu (吳尚年) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Department of International Organizations as Senior Official for APEC, explained the overall situation at this year's APEC meetings and the results of the Senior Officials' Meeting and AELM before fielding questions from the media.
During the press conference, NSC Deputy Secretary-General Hsu conveyed President Tsai Ing-wen's praise and gratitude for Dr. Chang, especially for his returning to serve as Leader's Representative, and noted that Dr. Chang had engaged with leaders from various APEC members during the meetings and led the delegation to complete the tasks entrusted to them by the president, making the trip a resounding success.
In his remarks, Dr. Chang said that all the participating leader's representatives were quite pleased that APEC was able to hold in-person meetings this year for the first time in four years. During the two days the participants were together, Dr. Chang stated that there were many formal meetings where everyone engaged in extensive discussions, adding that from Taiwan's point of view, the delegation achieved excellent results.
Dr. Chang also mentioned that when President Tsai appointed him, she asked him to convey three points to the APEC leaders, and that he followed the president's directive, expressing those points in two speeches delivered at the first and second closed-door sessions of the AELM.
Dr. Chang said that his first speech covered President Tsai's first two points. The first point, he noted, is that there are currently many divergent opinions on issues including the choice between unfair competition and free markets, as opinions differ on whether there should be completely open markets or completely fair competition. He expressed hope that APEC member states can face these different opinions head on, so that we can find a balanced approach together. Dr. Chang also brought up the choice between secure and resilient or innovative and efficient supply chains, noting that there is an apparent conflict between the two and questioning whether we have to choose just one. The first of President Tsai's points, Dr. Chang stated, was that we should start by addressing different opinions directly so that we can find a balanced approach together.
The second of President Tsai's points, he added, was that Chinese Taipei wants to work with APEC partners and cooperate in establishing secure, reliable, and resilient supply chains, especially for semiconductors.
The third point the president wanted him to convey, Dr. Chang said, is that Chinese Taipei has made extensive efforts to manage climate change, and has already committed to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, a point he expressed in his second speech.
Dr. Chang then took questions from the media.
Asked whether the Presidential Office or national security agencies had rehearsed his possible interactions with Chinese President Xi Jinping, and what President Tsai's sense is regarding his congratulating President Xi on a successful 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party, Dr. Chang responded that it was his own idea to interact with President Xi and congratulate him.
The Presidential Office had previously informed Dr. Chang that, should the opportunity present itself, there was "no need to avoid meeting or greeting" President Xi. This was the only relevant instruction given to Dr. Chang, who himself came up with the idea to congratulate President Xi on the CCP's successful 20th National Congress and explain his own health situation. NSC Deputy Secretary-General Hsu further explained that, in regard to this event, President Tsai had earlier made a point to express her respect for the interaction between Dr. Chang and President Xi.
Asked about the belief in some countries that over-concentration of the global semiconductor industry in Taiwan could generate risks, Dr. Chang stated that chips are very important products, something that everyone now knows but that many suddenly realized only recently, with many also jealous and envious that Taiwan has such a good semiconductor industry. Noting that many want to produce more chips in their own countries for national security, economic, or other reasons, Dr. Chang said many foreign representatives had approached him at this year's APEC event to ask whether Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) could produce chips in their countries.
Asked whether TSMC might relocate some of its leading-edge manufacturing to other countries, Dr. Chang responded that the plant that TSMC will open in Arizona will produce chips on a 5-nanometer process. Stating that the 5-nanometer process will be the most advanced semiconductor manufacturing process in the United States, he noted that TSMC already has a 3-nanometer process, its most advanced, and refers to the 5-nanometer process as its "n minus 1" (n-1) process, in which "n" represents the most advanced process and "minus 1" indicates one generation behind.
Commenting on whether TSMC will produce chips on the 3-nanometer process in the US, Dr. Chang said that TSMC is close to finalizing a plan for 3-nanometer process manufacturing at the same Arizona site, with the 5-nanometer process to be used in its initial phase of production and the 3-nanometer process to be used in its second phase.
Asked whether he would attend the December 6 "tool-in" ceremony marking the installation of fabrication equipment at TSMC's new Arizona plant, and if high-level US officials had been invited, Dr. Chang said that he and his wife will both attend the ceremony in person, and stated that the company has invited its "TSMC Grand Alliance" partners, including TSMC customers, suppliers, and third-party intellectual property providers, as well as a number of US government officials. He relayed his understanding that US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo has accepted an invitation to attend, and said her acceptance is particularly meaningful given that the six-hour flight from Washington, DC to Arizona means her attendance at the event will involve nearly an entire day of travel. Dr. Chang added that TSMC has invited government officials including the US senators from Arizona and its governor, and has also invited US President Joe Biden, although Dr. Chang did not know if the president had responded.
Asked which countries at the APEC summit had expressed hope to host chip production by TSMC, Dr. Chang said he would not comment because TSMC cannot distribute its production across so many different locations.
Asked about Taiwan's bid to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), Minister without Portfolio Deng noted that prior comments on the topic made by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese of Australia in response to questions from the media were not in line with CPTPP rules and had subsequently been clarified by the Australian government. Minister Deng added that Taiwan is deeply grateful to the Australian government for expressing that its position on Taiwan's accession to the CPTPP has not changed.
Remarks prepared by Leader's Representative Chang for closed-door sessions at the 2022 APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting