South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol is set to visit the Netherlands, the first visit by a South Korean leader since diplomatic ties were established in 1961. The visit is strategically focused on strengthening semiconductor cooperation between the two nations. The discussions are projected to lead to a “chip alliance.”
High-tech chips, integral to the modern global economy and utilized in diverse applications from weaponry to automobiles, have South Korea contributing approximately 60% of the world’s memory chip supply, as President Yoon highlighted in an exclusive written interview with AFP.
President Yoon Suk Yeol emphasized South Korea’s intention to “significantly” enhance semiconductor collaboration with the Netherlands, the United States and Japan.
This collaborative effort is important to the country as the Dutch government recently joined the U.S.-led initiative aimed at restricting China’s access to advanced chipmaking technology.
These measures are strategically designed to prevent China from acquiring critical inputs for technologies, including artificial intelligence and advanced weaponry. The move has sparked strong reactions from Beijing, labeling the restrictions as “technological terrorism” and highlighting the heightened geopolitical importance of semiconductor technologies.
The collaborative efforts between South Korea and the Netherlands in the semiconductor sector have been ideal, with the Netherlands hosting ASML, the exclusive producer of extreme ultraviolet lithography machines crucial for advanced chip manufacturing.
During President Yoon Suk Yeol’s visit to the Netherlands, a key highlight was his planned tour of the ASML headquarters in Veldhoven. This visit, Yoon, accompanied by Dutch King Willem-Alexander, Samsung Electronics Executive Chairman Lee Jae-yong, and SK Chairman Chey Tae-won, is set to become the first foreign leader invited inside a cleanroom at ASML.
“As the rivalry among nations and regions escalates to secure dominance in emerging technologies, the semiconductor industry holds unprecedented strategic importance. This visit to the Netherlands takes on special significance,” Yoon expressed.
“Semiconductors stand as the cornerstone of Korea-Netherlands cooperation,” he remarked. “Ensuring the stable and sustainable growth of the global semiconductor industry remains a core interest for both countries.”
The partnership has played a role in maintaining the stability of global semiconductor supply chains, with major South Korean chip manufacturers such as Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix relying on ASML’s technology.
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