China pressures Dutch minister to block access to chip-making technology over security concerns

BEIJING — China’s foreign minister on Tuesday urged his Dutch counterpart to gain access to advanced chip-making technology that has been blocked for security reasons and warned against leaving what he said were fears unfounded Beijing spoil relations.

Chinese frustration over restrictions imposed by the Netherlands, Washington and Japan on chip technology has added to political tensions at a time when Beijing is threatening to attack Taiwan and becoming increasingly assertive towards other neighbors. Asians.

There is no indication that the Netherlands has changed its restriction on supplying lithography machines available only from a single Dutch company that uses ultraviolet light to etch tiny circuits onto next-generation processor chips. The lack of this tool is hampering Chinese efforts to develop chips for smartphones, artificial intelligence and other advanced applications.

“Regarding the issue of lithography machines, China has serious concerns about this,” Qin Gang told a joint press conference. “We should work together to jointly safeguard the normal trade order between us, international trade rules, and jointly maintain the stability of global industrial and supply chains.”

China’s ambassador to the Netherlands earlier threatened possible unspecified retaliation, but ministers gave no indication they had discussed it during their 2.5-hour meeting.

“We have shared our national security concerns,” Dutch Minister Wopke Hoekstra said. “I, of course, clearly listened to his, and that’s generally something we’ll continue our dialogue on.”

Beijing seems to be trying to improve its relations with European governments and perhaps to separate some of them from alliances with Washington.

Political analysts have suggested this was part of the motivation behind Beijing’s decision to send an envoy to discuss a possible settlement of the war in Ukraine. Analysts see little hope for peace, but say the move gives Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s government a chance to deflect Western criticism of its friendly relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Qin called for patience as the envoy, Li Hui, visits European governments to discuss a possible “political settlement”.

Hoekstra, who is also the Dutch deputy prime minister, said he and Qin “talked at length about the war” but gave no details.

“Russia’s aggression against Ukraine must stop and Europe and the Netherlands will continue to support Ukraine as long as it takes and as much as necessary,” Hoekstra said.

Qin tried to play down security fears about Beijing.

“What China exports are opportunities, not crises,” he said.

The Chinese minister complained about the “abnormal phenomenon” of what he said were fears that China was being exaggerated by unspecified “intelligence services”.

“So their accusations are exaggerated by the media,” Qin said. “The result is that it erodes popular support for the friendship between our two countries.”


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