BEIJING (AP) — China’s foreign minister warned Tuesday against damaging ties with what Beijing says are unfounded fears that its Dutch counterpart will push for advanced chip-making technology blocked for security reasons.
Chinese frustration with curbs on chip technology by the Netherlands, Washington and Japan has added to political tensions at a time when Beijing has threatened to attack Taiwan and is tough on other Asian neighbors.
There is no sign of the Netherlands reversing its ban on the supply of lithography machines from a single Dutch company, which use ultraviolet light to etch tiny circuits on next-generation processor chips. A lack of that equipment is holding back Chinese efforts to make chips for smartphones, artificial intelligence and other advanced applications.
Qin Gang said at a joint press conference that “China has serious concerns about the issue of lithography machines.” We must work together to protect the normal trading system between us, international trade rules, and protect global industrial and supply chains.
China’s ambassador to the Netherlands had previously threatened unspecified retaliation, but the ministers gave no indication of what they discussed during the two-and-a-half-hour meeting.
Dutch Minister Wopke Hoekstra said, “We share our national security concerns.” “I really listen to him clearly, and that’s something we usually keep our conversation going.”
Beijing appears to be trying to improve relations with European governments and possibly break some of its alliances with Washington.
Political analysts say Beijing’s decision to send a delegation to discuss a possible settlement of the Ukraine war is part of the motivation. Analysts believe the prospect of peace is slim, but say the initiative gives Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s government an opportunity to deflect Western criticism of its friendly relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Li Hui, the envoy, called for patience when visiting European governments to discuss a “political settlement”.
Hoekstra’s deputy prime minister said he and Keen “discussed the war at length” but did not give any details.
“Russia’s aggression against Ukraine must stop and Europe and the Netherlands will continue to stand with Ukraine as long as and if necessary,” Hoeksta said.
Qin has tried to play down security concerns about Beijing.
“What China exports is an opportunity, not a crisis,” he said.
The Chinese minister complained about an “unusual incident” in unspecified “intelligence departments” that raised concerns about China’s overreach.
“And then their allegations are exaggerated by the media,” Keane said. The result is an erosion of public support for the friendship between the two countries.