GT Voice: China will respond firmly, if US hurts Chinese firms over Russia as threatened
Published: Mar 24, 2022 09:35 PM
Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

The US administration appears to be increasingly unhinged in its pressuring campaign to force China into taking sides on the Russia-Ukraine conflict, as US officials have been doubling down on their threat of "economic consequences" against China should Beijing refuses to support Washington's sanctions against Russia.

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said on Wednesday that G7 countries would soon announce a unified response to make sure Russia cannot evade Western sanctions with the help of China or any other country, according to Reuters, which described the remarks as setting "red lines for China."

A more specific muscle-flexing came from US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, who threatened that the US will "absolutely" enforce export controls, if Chinese companies send semiconductors to Russia that were made with US technology. "If we find that they are selling chips to Russia, then we can essentially shut them down by denying them use of that software, and we're absolutely prepared to do that," Raimondo said on Wednesday.

This is hardly the first time that US officials have tried to intimidate China with "economic consequences" over its stance toward the situation in Ukraine. Clearly, as they feel the limitations of their sanctions against Russia, US officials are trying to blackmail China into dancing to its tune. 

But to put it simply, China won't buy it. Such threats did not work on China during the US' trade war over the past several years, and they certainly do not work now.  

China's objective and impartial position over the Ukraine situation is consistent and is well respected by both Russia and Ukraine, as it promotes a peaceful resolution to the conflict. Moreover, China's normal economic and trade cooperation with Russia is reasonable and legitimate, and the US is no position to point fingers.  

Needless to say, if Washington were to be so arrogant and move to hurt Chinese interests, China will respond resolutely and appropriately to protect the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese entities and individuals. It would be a grave mistake for Washington to think that it can coerce China by imposing chip-related export controls and inflicting pain on Chinese companies. 

In recent years, the US has already showed what the "economic consequences" could be like by relentlessly cracking down on Chinese high-tech companies under various made-up pretexts, including national security concerns and human rights violations. China has responded firmly and withstood such crackdowns, proving that Washington's sanctions are not only illegal but also futile.  

Such sanctions have also backfired on the US itself. With economic and technological cooperation intricately woven among countries in an era of globalization, any attempt to prevent China from accessing high-tech products or technology will only result in new disruption to global industrial chains, casting a shadow over the interests of relevant companies in the US and the world as well.

While the US is a dominant force in terms of semiconductor technology, China is not unprepared. Ever since the US cut Chinese high-tech companies off chip supplies, China has been firmly pushing forward with its own development of semiconductor technology.

Moreover, with a complete industrial chain and manufacturing system, China is the world's largest semiconductor market with significant chip application manufacturing capacity. China accounted for 34.6 percent of global semiconductor sales and about 25 percent of global smartphone shipments in 2021. 

With such massive market demand and manufacturing strength, China has its own strategic initiative in the semiconductor supply chain. If the US insists on using the chip as a bargaining chip to pressure China, it will risk provoking a split and confrontation in the global semiconductor sector.