China urges S. Korea to care for global industrial and supply chain stability
Published: Jul 26, 2022 06:51 PM
Zhao Lijian Photo: VCG

Zhao Lijian Photo: VCG

China’s Foreign Ministry said it hopes South Korea to uphold an objective and fair stance and contribute to the stability of global industrial and supply chains over a possible Seoul decision to join a US-led exclusive semiconductors alliance.

"We hope South Korea will proceed from its own long-term interests, the principle of fair and openness to do more things that are conducive to the development of China-South Korea relations and the stability of the global industrial and supply chains," Zhao Lijian, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson, said at a regular briefing on Tuesday.

Zhao’s remarks come after an official from South Korea’s Foreign Ministry reportedly expressed caution over joining the US-led exclusive chips grouping.

To curb Chinese mainland's important role in the global semiconductor supply chain, the US government has reportedly asked South Korea to reply to the US by the end of August on whether it will join the US-proposed "Chip 4" alliance that also include South Korea, Japan and China's Taiwan region.

A South Korean Foreign Ministry official said on Monday that South Korean government is reviewing various aspects and will make a decision after considering factors like promoting investment and Korean companies performing in overseas markets, Yonhap News Agency reported on Monday.

The official denied the claim that the US government has set a time limit for a response. 

South Korea’s caution on the topic indicated South Korea's calculations over possible gains and losses if it chooses to join the grouping, as South Korea's export-oriented economy would be hit hard if it blindly joins the US' exclusive grouping on chips aimed at technology suppression of China, South Korea's largest trading partner, some observers said.

Zhao pointed out that China and South Korea are each other's important cooperative partners, with both sides reaping huge benefits from their successful trade ties.

Against the backdrop of the pandemic and the downward pressure on the global economy, trade between China and South Korea grew 26.9 percent year on year to reach $362.35 billion in 2021. The figure has surpassed the combined trade value from South Korea’s trade with US, Japan and European Union, Zhao said.

Despite US’ attempt to undermine international trade rules and fragment the global market, officials from the China and South Korea have recently indicated the need for closer cooperation.

Chinese Ambassador to South Korea Xing Haiming met with two South Korean officials on Monday, during which the two sides stressed carrying out practical cooperation in various fields, including semiconductors.
Regarding the chip trade alone, China accounted for 60 percent of South Korea's chip exports last year, Zhao said.

The formation and development of the global industrial chain and supply chain are the result of the law of the market. To strengthen the openness and cooperation of the industrial chain and supply chain, preventing fragmentation is beneficial for the whole world, the spokesperson said.

“China opposes artificial decoupling of global industries, undermining international trade rules and fragmenting the global market,” Zhao said.