China, South Korea agree to intensify talks on chip industry

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: China’s Commerce Minister Wang Wentao speaks at a news conference in Beijing, China March 2, 2023. REUTERS/Florence Lo/File Photo

BEIJING (Reuters) – China and South Korea have agreed to strengthen dialogue and cooperation on the semiconductor industry’s supply chain, amid growing global concerns about chip supply, sanctions and security. national security, said China’s Commerce Minister.

Wang Wentao met South Korean Trade Minister Ahn Duk-geun on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) conference in Detroit, which ended on Friday.

They exchanged views on maintaining the stability of industrial supply chains and strengthening cooperation in bilateral, regional and multilateral fields, according to a statement from China’s Ministry of Commerce on Saturday. .

Wang also said China is willing to work with South Korea to strengthen trade relations and investment cooperation.

However, a South Korean statement at the same meeting made no mention of chips, instead saying that the country’s commerce minister had asked China to stabilize the supply of key raw materials and demanded an environment. predictable business for Korean companies in China.

“The Korean side expressed that there should be communication between low-level officials in all industries,” not just semiconductors, a source with knowledge of the matter told Reuters. The source declined to be identified because they were not authorized to speak to the media. South Korea is at the center of a tit-for-tat dispute between the United States and China over semiconductors.

China’s Cyberspace Administration said last week that Micron (NASDAQ:NY) had failed a cybersecurity assessment and that it would block critical infrastructure operators from purchasing from the company. The United States has pushed countries to limit China’s access to advanced chips, citing a range of reasons including national security.

According to commerce ministry data, about 40% of South Korea’s chip exports are to China, while American technology and equipment is needed by South Korean chipmakers Samsung Electronics (OTC: ) and SK Hynix.

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