BEIJING (Reuters) – Chinese President Xi Jinping renewed his call for greater innovation and technological self-sufficiency as the United States tightens its grip on China’s access to advanced technologies, during a tour of a major industrial nation.
China must speed up the upgrading of key technologies and core products, state-run Xinhua News Agency reported on Xi’s visit to a high-tech manufacturing zone in eastern Jiangsu province.
“With the rapid development of information technology and the emergence of disruptive technologies at any time, it is necessary to lay a strong foundation in the way of innovation and contribute to the realization of high self-sufficiency in technology,” he said.
Xi’s call to boost tech innovation comes as U.S.-China tensions over semiconductors escalate in a trade war led by President Joe Biden’s Trump administration.
Washington is pushing for new restrictions on the sale of artificial intelligence microchips following a sweeping set of export controls last year to cut China off from semiconductor chips made by U.S. equipment anywhere in the world.
The United States is considering limiting its investment and expertise in Chinese companies working on advanced semiconductors, artificial intelligence and quantum computing.
Xi called for greater self-reliance and scientific breakthroughs to protect the development of China’s technology sector, even turning to state-owned enterprises to win the “battle” for key core technologies and protect China’s industrial security.
Earlier this week, China abruptly announced export controls on two metals widely used in semiconductors and electric vehicles to protect its national security and interests, which Chinese state media and a policy adviser said were “just the beginning.”
The United States wants healthy competition with China through fair rules that benefit both countries, not a “winner-takes-all” approach, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told Chinese Premier Li Qiang in Beijing on Friday.
Yellen’s China trip comes weeks after a visit by Foreign Secretary Anthony Blinken, with whom he agreed that mutual competition should not come into conflict.
(Reporting by Ryan Wu and Ellen Zhang; Editing by Himani Sarkar and Ross Russell)