(MENAFN- The Peninsula) AFP
Seoul: South Korea aims to establish a "chip alliance" with the Netherlands during President Yoon Suk Yeol's state visit next week, his office said Thursday.
The two countries are leading players in the global chip industry, which is facing political turbulence as China and the West compete for dominance.
Yoon is scheduled to visit the Netherlands' ASML, the world's leading maker of the machines that help manufacture semiconductors -- the brains driving everything from consumer electronics to weapons.
In June, the Dutch government said firms producing semiconductor-making equipment would need permission to export to foreign clients from September this year.
One of the goals of the upcoming state visit is "to establish a 'semiconductor alliance' between South Korea and the Netherlands," said Yoon's deputy national security advisor Kim Tae-hyo.
Yoon's office said ASML had granted him permission to visit their cleanroom facilities -- highly controlled environments designed for manufacturing its products, ensuring precision and cleanliness -- making him the first foreign leader to do so.
Seoul seeks to "combine the Netherlands' advanced equipment and South Korea's advanced manufacturing capabilities," Kim said.
Kim added that the "chip alliance" scheme would involve governments, businesses, and universities from both countries.
If realised, these efforts would "strengthen the resilience of the global semiconductor supply chain amidst geopolitical conflicts" in the international community, he said.
South Korea is home to Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix, two of the world's leading chipmakers, which also operate factories in China.
Seoul is an ally of Washington, which is engaged in a fierce commercial and geopolitical rivalry with Beijing.
Last week, US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo urged US allies to stop China from getting semiconductors and cutting-edge technologies key to national security.
ASML posted a decline in third-quarter sales in October as the industry battled headwinds from a trading spat with Beijing.
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