China’s commerce minister has urged Japan to end its newly announced curbs on exports of chipmaking equipment, saying it would hurt economic and trade relations between the two countries.
In March, Japan announced it would tighten rules on exports of 23 types of advanced semiconductor manufacturing equipment, joining the United States and the Netherlands in curbing the sale of key technology to China.
China is “strongly dissatisfied with” Japan’s decision, which it said violated international economic and trade rules, a Monday statement from the commerce ministry quoted its minister Wang Wentao as saying. It was the second time in a week that the country’s commerce ministry lashed out at Japan’s decision.
Wang said he hopes Japan will “correct its perception of China.”
The comments were made during Wang’s talks last week with Yasutoshi Nishimura, Japan’s Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference in Detroit.
On May 23, the commerce ministry issued a statement calling on Japan to “immediately” stop the export restrictions and said China would take measures to defend its interests.
Semiconductors, which are an indispensable part of just about every electronic device, have emerged as an important front in the tussle between Washington and Beijing over access to key technology.
China’s commerce minster, Wang Wentao, left, met Yasutoshi Nishimura, Japan’s trade minister, in Detroit last week.Getty Images
In October 2022, Washington imposed sweeping export curbs on advanced chips and chip-making equipment to China, in an attempt to cut off China’s access to critical technology for military purposes. Since then, US officials have persuaded their allies in the Netherlands and Japan to join this escalating standoff.
Earlier this month, Beijing retaliated by banning the sale of US chipmaker Micron’s products to Chinese companies working on key infrastructure projects.
That announcement came just hours after the Group of Seven member countries had made their most detailed articulation of a shared position on China to date: stressing the need to cooperate with the world’s second largest economy but also to counter its “malign practices” and “coercion.
Wang said China “firmly opposes” the G7 statement on the country.
In March, the Netherlands also announced restrictions on overseas sales of chip-making technology to countries including China. Beijing has strongly criticized the restrictions, labeling them “discriminatory containment.”
Chips are at the center of Beijing’s bid to become a tech superpower. China has its own chip manufacturers, but they supply mostly low- to mid-end processors used in home appliances and electric vehicles.