Taiwan chip magnate pledges cash for defense against China: 'I'm telling everyone to oppose the CCP'

UMC founder Robert Tsao wants to train more than 3m 'civilian warriors' and sharpshooters

A Taiwanese semiconductor magnate is to provide the money to prime several million "civilian warriors" and marksmen to help defend the island nation in the event of an invasion by China.

Robert Tsao, founder of Taiwan's first semiconductor company, United Microelectronics Corp (UMC), said at a press conference yesterday he intends to use $32 million of his own cash to provide funds to the Kuma Academy, which trains Taiwan's civilian defense corps. 

Tsao said his funds would help train three million people a year, with 60 percent of the money going toward training "warriors" of no particular description, and the remaining 40 percent helping to train sharpshooters. Per Bloomberg, the funds are part of a larger pool of nearly one billion US dollars Tsao has given to the Taiwanese government to help protect itself against China. 

In an interview Tsao gave last week to US Government-funded Radio Free Asia, the former semiconductor executive said he was prepared to help Taiwan resist China's military threat, despite giving up Taiwanese citizenship in 2011 after settling in Singapore. 

As part of his announcement, Tsao also said he had regained Taiwanese citizenship. "I had to come back; if I'm telling everyone to oppose the CCP (Chinese Communist Party), I can hardly skulk overseas myself."

While the Guardian said he had previously supported Taiwan and China's reunification, Tsao said his perspective shifted after seeing CCP supporters assaulting pro-democracy supporters in Hong Kong. 

"I'm going to oppose the CCP. No going back. I will cut off all ties with Hong Kong, Macau and mainland China," Tsao told the radio network. 

Tsao resigned his post as chairman of UMC in 2005 not long after being accused by Taiwanese authorities of illegal investment in China. The accusations caused Tsao and another UMC executive to quit, though both were immediately hired as advisors. 

The chip veteran's latest move comes as tensions between China and Taiwan have heightened since Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi visited the island last month.

UMC has distanced itself from Tsao, saying after an earlier announcement he made criticizing China's show of force via military drills surrounding the island during the visit earlier this month: "Mr Tsao retired from UMC more than 10 years ago. He has nothing to do with UMC."

During her visit, Pelosi accused China of cyber attacks against Taiwan, as well as asserting US support for the nation "as it defends itself and its freedom." 

The Chinese drills last month escalated tensions, and Taiwanese authorities reported last week they had shot down a Chinese drone that had flown over Taiwan's military posts on a small island near the Chinese mainland. 

Taiwan was notably left out of a US-APAC trade agreement signed earlier this year in what could be seen as a concession to China, but US President Joe Biden reiterated at the time that the US hadn't ruled out military support for Taiwan in case of a Chinese invasion. ®

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