China lobbies Dutch to defend trade after chip curbs

BEIJING (AP) — China’s foreign minister appealed to his Dutch counterpart to defend free trade after the Netherlands and Japan agreed to cooperate with U.S. restrictions on Chinese access to advanced processor chip technology due to security concerns.

The foreign ministry gave no indication Tuesday whether Qin Gang directly addressed the controls in the phone call with Wopke Hoekstra. But a ministry spokeswoman repeated complaints made earlier against the United States that other governments were trying to hurt Chinese companies.

Qin said the Netherlands and China “should jointly maintain the stability of the international industrial chain and supply chain,” said Mao Ning.

Hoekstra said on Twitter he talked with Qin on Monday but gave no details.

The United States is trying to block China from acquiring the most powerful chips and technology to help its fledgling industry make them. Washington says they can be used in weapons and to facilitate the ruling Communist Party’s surveillance and human rights abuses.

Without naming the United States, Mao said other goverments have “deliberately blockaded and hobbled Chinese companies.” She made a similar complaint against Washington on Monday.

“Such bullying and hegemonic practices seriously violate market principles and international trade order,” Mao said. She appealed to other governments to “make independent decisions based on their own interests.”

A person familiar with the agreement told The Associated Press on Sunday that Japan and the Netherlands agreed to join in U.S. controls.

The Communist Party has invested billions of dollars to develop chip producers, buy they still need foreign manufacturing equipment, raw materials and other technology.

The Netherlands is the home of ASML, the leader in extreme-ultraviolet, or EUV, technology that allows manufacturers to pack more circuits onto a chip. The Dutch government has blocked the sale of its most advanced equipment to China under a security agreement that includes Washington.