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Xi tells Dutch PM: No force can stop China’s technological advancement

THE HAGUE, NETHERLANDS – MARCH 23: Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte meets with President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping at Catshuis on March 23, 2014 in The Hague, Netherlands. (Photo by Valérie Kuypers-Pool/Getty Images

Valerie Kuypers-Pool | Getty Images News | Getty Images

China’s technological progress cannot be stopped, Chinese President Xi Jinping told Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte as they met in Beijing on Wednesday for discussions on areas such as the critical semiconductor industry.

“The Chinese people also have legitimate rights to development, and no force can stop the pace of China’s scientific and technological progress,” Xi said, according to Xinhua News Agency.

Xi said China “will continue to pursue a win-win approach.”

Relations between China and the Netherlands have been strained since the Netherlands, with the United Stateshas blocked exports of advanced technology chips to China, fearing they could be used for military purposes.

Semiconductor chips are essential components found in everything from smartphones to automobiles.

Dutch tech giant ASML has been ban on export of extreme ultraviolet lithography machines in China – it is currently the only company capable of manufacturing such machines. To date, it has yet to ship a single EUV machine to China.

Such EUV lithography machines are crucial for chip manufacturing and are used by companies like the one in Taiwan. TSMC to make the smallest and most sophisticated chips.

In January, the Netherlands banned ASML to export some of its deep ultraviolet lithography systems to China, which are used to make slightly less advanced chips.

Beijing criticized the Dutch government’s decisionurging the Netherlands to “maintain an objective and fair position and market principles” and “protect the shared interests” of the two countries and their companies.

“Creating scientific and technological barriers and breaking industrial and supply chains will only lead to division and confrontation,” Xi said on Wednesday, according to state media Xinhua.

He said cooperation was the only possible path and added that “decoupling and breaking the chain” was not an option.

Xi said China is willing to continue dialogue with the Netherlands and urged the Dutch side to “provide a fair and transparent business environment for Chinese companies.”

According to Reuters, Rutte said on Wednesday that the Netherlands was trying to ensure that export restrictions, when linked to the semiconductor industry and companies like ASML, never target just one country. “We always try to ensure that the impact is limited,” he was quoted as saying.

Chinese state media reported that Rutte responded by saying that decoupling was also not a political choice for the Dutch government, “since any act that harms China’s development interests will only have an effect boomerang”.

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