In a statement from his ministry on Monday, Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao asked Japan to stop putting restrictions on the export of semiconductors. He called this a “wrongdoing” that “seriously violated” international economic and trade rules. Wang talked with Japanese Trade Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura on May 26 at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) conference in Detroit. During those talks, China again said that the export restrictions were wrong.
In January, Japan and the Netherlands agreed to match U.S. export controls that limit the sale of some chipmaking tools to China. Japan has also put limits on the export of 23 types of equipment used to make semiconductors to its neighbor, the Netherlands. The U.S. put the restrictions in place last year to slow down China’s work on supercomputers that can be used to make nuclear weapons systems and systems that use artificial intelligence.
In its statements about export controls, Japan has not singled out China. Instead, it has only said that it is doing its part to help keep the world safe and peaceful. In a statement released on Monday, the Chinese commerce ministry also said that China “is willing to work with Japan to promote practical cooperation in key economic and trade areas.” Nishimura met with Gina Raimondo, the U.S. Secretary of Commerce, on Friday. They agreed to work together more on research and development of advanced chips and technologies like quantum computing and artificial intelligence.
Wang also met with Raimondo and U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai while at the summit. He criticized U.S. economic and trade policies toward China, such as the U.S.-led Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, which does not include China and aims to provide a U.S.-centered alternative to its influence. This month, the U.S., Japan, and other members of the Group of Seven (G7) agreed to “de-risk” but not “decouple” from China. This means that they will buy less chips and minerals from the world’s second-largest economy.