Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang urged Japan not to support U.S. curbs on China’s semiconductor industry, as Washington continues to try to rally nations behind its chip export restrictions.
“The U.S. has used bullying tactics to brutally suppress Japan’s semiconductor industry, and now the same tactics are being used again against China. What you do not want, do not do to others,” Qin said to his Japanese counterpart Yoshimasa Hayashi on Sunday, according to a CNBC translation of a Chinese foreign ministry statement.
“Japan should not help the tiger (U.S.), because the pain is still there. The embargo will only further inspire China’s determination to stand on its own feet,” Qin said.
Semiconductors — critical components in everything from home appliances and consumer electronics to military equipment — have been thrust into the center of a battle for tech supremacy between the U.S. and China.
Last year, the U.S. Department of Commerce introduced sweeping rules aimed at cutting China off from obtaining or manufacturing advanced chips — a move analysts said could hobble the domestic semiconductor ambition of the world’s second-largest economy.
For the U.S. restrictions to be effective, Washington requires the buy-in from other key nations in the semiconductor supply chain, including South Korea, Japan and the Netherlands.
Washington has been trying to rally some of these countries around its measures, finding some success.
Japan is a key part of the semiconductor supply chain, with key companies including Sony and Tokyo Electron. Japan on Friday announced export restrictions on 23 types of semiconductor manufacturing equipment, but did not specifically name China.
This comes after the Netherlands, home to one of the most critical semiconductor companies ASML, announced last month export limitations on “advanced” chip manufacturing equipment.
While these countries have put some export restrictions in place, they are still trying to maintain trade ties with China.
Japan, whose biggest trading partner is China, has maintained that its chip export curtailments are not aimed at any specific country.
Tensions are high between China and Japan, however, with Beijing expressing concern over Japan’s military build up. Hayashi meanwhile urged China to release a Japanese national that was detained in Beijing.