China’s Ministry of Commerce has hit out at Japan for banning the export of 23 types of chipmaking equipment to the mainland.
The ministry said it “firmly opposes” the decision, announced on Monday, and damned the restriction on chipmaking equipment as “an abuse of export control measures and a serious departure from free trade” and international trade rules.
It called on the Japanese government to “immediately correct its wrongdoing”, saying its move would seriously damage both Chinese and Japanese companies, as well as bilateral trade cooperation and the semiconductor industry.
The Japan Times reported on Monday that Tokyo will launch “tighter regulations on the export to China of manufacturing equipment for cutting-edge semiconductors” from July “at the earliest”.
Tech sector tension
Beijing’s angry reaction was spelt out in an article published by Global Times state mouthpiece, which warned that if Japan wants to “jeopardize the well-established cooperative relationship” its companies enjoy with China’s semiconductor industries, it could face “resolute countermeasures”.
That warning comes days after Beijing banned local companies from using chips made by US memory chipmaker Micron Technology.
The angry response by Beijing follows a G7 summit in Hiroshima on the weekend, an event it damned as “an anti-China workshop“, which appears to have ramped up long-simmering geopolitical tensions.
G7 nations focused partly on Western grievances with China’s “economic coercion” and other issues such as the war in Ukraine, but stressed that they wanted to scale down trade with Beijing – not ‘de-couple’ – from the world’s second largest economy.
Tokyo’s restrictions follow similar moves by the United States last October, and the Netherlands, which also said they would restrict the export of advanced chipmaking gear that could be used by China’s military.
The chip sector has been in turmoil amid international concern about China’s occupation of the South China Sea and its desire to take over Taiwan, which it considers as a renegade province.
- Jim Pollard