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China accuses US of ‘tech terrorism’

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China has denounced US efforts to stop ASML and Nikon from selling key chip-making technology to the country as “technological terrorism”.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian criticised the export curbs sought by Washington during a regular news briefing on Wednesday in Beijing. He didn’t elaborate on whether China planned any response to the move.

Washington’s proposed restrictions on ASML would expand an existing moratorium on the sale of the most advanced systems to China, in an attempt to thwart China’s plans to become a world leader in chip production.

If the Netherlands agrees, it would broaden significantly the range and class of chip-making gear now forbidden from heading to China, potentially dealing a serious blow to Chinese chip makers from Semiconductor Manufacturing International to Hua Hong Semiconductor.

American officials are lobbying their Dutch counterparts to bar ASML from selling some of its older deep ultraviolet lithography, or DUV, systems, people familiar with the matter said. These machines are a generation behind the cutting edge but still the most common method in making certain less-advanced chips required by cars, phones, computers and even robots.

American officials are also trying to exert pressure on Japan to stop shipping the same technology to Chinese chip makers, one of the people said. Japan’s Nikon competes with ASML in the area.

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