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Chinese Spies Targeting Dutch Tech: Intelligence Agency

The Dutch security agency – MIVD – said China has zeroed in on the country’s semiconductor, aerospace and shipping sectors to steal information

Employees work to assemble ASML's Twinscan NXE3400B chip lithography tool in Veldhoven
Employees with ASML's Twinscan NXE3400B chip lithography tool in Veldhoven. Photo: Reuters


Chinese spies have targeted the Dutch chip, aerospace and maritime industries, the country’s military intelligence agency claims, in a bid to boost its military power.

The MIVD said, in its annual report published on Thursday, that China is investing heavily in the collection of western knowledge and technical capabilities.

“China wants to be independent from western knowledge and technology [and] wants to build a military that can match any other,” the agency claimed.

“To do so, it needs advanced technology it doesn’t yet fully possess. It tries to get this abroad, using legal means such as research and investments, but also through its intelligence agencies.”

Dutch intelligence agencies first publicly attributed cyber espionage to China in February, when they said state-backed cyber spies had gained access to a Dutch military network last year.


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Last year, the Netherlands joined a US effort to keep certain chipmaking technology from China for national security reasons, restricting the export by leading chipmaking equipment maker ASML of certain deep ultraviolet (DUV) equipment for Chinese customers.

Earlier this month, the US government also pressed the Netherlands to stop ASML from servicing some tools in China, according to people familiar with the matter.

In its annual report, the MIVD said China continued to target Western armed forces for their knowledge on modern weapon systems and operational expertise, while also seeking out other advanced industries.

“China tries to get hold of technology in the Netherlands in various ways, using a combination of [cyber] espionage, company insiders, acquisitions, circumvention of export restrictions and reverse engineering of technology for which no licences are required,” the agency said.

The agency said Chinese intelligence agencies had broadened the scope, intensity and technical level of its cyber campaigns over the last year.

Chinese universities also play an important role in gathering intelligence, it said, as scientists who work with western companies often also work for China’s security services and state companies.


  • Reuters with additional editing by Sean O’Meara


Read more:

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Sean O'Meara

Sean O'Meara is an Editor at Asia Financial. He has been a newspaper man for more than 30 years, working at local, regional and national titles in the UK as a writer, sub-editor, page designer and print editor. A football, cricket and rugby fan, he has a particular interest in sports finance.


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