Washington’s tightening of chip curbs on Beijing this week will intensify their battle for tech superiority and add more uncertainty to the relationship, according to observers.
They said the US move could also overshadow a possible meeting between the Chinese and US presidents at next month’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in San Francisco.
The US commerce department unveiled new rules on Tuesday to upgrade its sweeping export controls on China’s access to cutting-edge computer chips and manufacturing equipment announced by Washington a year ago.
“Today’s updated rules will increase effectiveness of our controls and further shut off pathways to evade our restrictions. These controls maintain our clear focus on military applications and confront the threats to our national security posed by the PRC government’s military-civil fusion strategy,” she said, using the acronym for China’s official name – the People’s Republic of China.
“The vast majority of semiconductors will remain unrestricted. But when we identify national security or human rights threats, we will act decisively and in concert with our allies,” she added.
China’s commerce ministry on Wednesday said Beijing was “strongly dissatisfied with and firmly opposes” the latest chip curbs, claiming Washington “abuses export control measures and implements unilateral bullying”.
It called for the lifting of the export controls as soon as possible and warned that China will “take all necessary measures to resolutely safeguard its legitimate rights and interests”.