Taiwan's US envoy accuses China of stealing tech

STORY: Taiwan’s new envoy to the U.S. on Wednesday accused Beijing of cheating in the chip making race and stealing technology as he backed Washington’s export controls against China.

The U.S. has been working with allies to cut off China's access to advanced chips and chip-making tools that could fuel breakthroughs in AI and sophisticated computers for its military.

In an interview with Reuters, Taiwan's representative to Washington, Alexander Yui, said the export controls are necessary in dealing with China, known formally as the People's Republic of China, or PRC.

He argued that the West's attempt at getting the country to follow international rules by letting it join the World Trade Organization did not work.

"We have found out that PRC doesn't really play by the rules and they cheat and they steal technology, etc. So by imposing these measures towards the PRC, I think is needed and also it's an effective way to hopefully make PRC comply by this set of rules that we all follow."

Despite the curbs, recent reports say Chinese chipmakers expect to make next-generation smartphone processors as early as this year.

But Yui cast doubt on whether this was viable, saying China has tried for years to reach Taiwan's levels of success in the chip making industry.

"They've hired executives, engineers, large numbers of them to try to form their own company and replicate the production facilities, capabilities from Taiwan. But they haven't been able to do so."

A spokesperson for the Chinese embassy in the U.S. called Yui's claims ill-intentioned, saying:

"China's scientific and technological achievements are never made through 'cheating' and 'stealing'. Our development is always built on our own strength."

Yui arrived in Washington in December to take up his role as de facto ambassador, replacing Hsiao Bi-khim who is now Taiwan's vice president-elect.

Yui told Reuters he's found "overwhelming" bipartisan political support for the island.

And he hopes Congress will pass a recent Senate bill that's offering allies billions of dollars to fend off Chinese aggression.

"Any means that helps Taiwan better protect itself, or defend itself or to acquire more military hardware, it's welcomed."

However, the bill is tied to thornier issues such as U.S. border security and funding for Ukraine and Israel, and is likely to be stalled by hardline Republicans who want tougher curbs on immigration.