South Korea and the Netherlands have committed to establishing a “chip alliance,” marking a significant milestone in advancing hi-tech collaboration between the two countries. This move also aligns with U.S. President Joe Biden’s efforts to create an alternative supply chain with reduced reliance on China.
At a news conference in Amsterdam on Tuesday, South Korea’s first deputy director of the National Security Office, Kim Tae-hyo, announced that both countries have agreed to pursue “exceptional cooperation in the semiconductor field” and work together to address “semiconductor supply chain crises” by forming an “alliance.”
Kim stated, “After close consultation, both sides decided to include the term ‘chip alliance’ in the upcoming joint statement.”
The announcement coincided with South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol’s state visit to the Netherlands, where he is expected to meet with his Dutch counterpart.
The formation of the “chip alliance” was already set in motion with Samsung Electronics and the Netherlands’ AMSL signing an MOU for a joint investment of US$760 million (1 trillion won) to establish a next-generation semiconductor manufacturing technology R&D center in South Korea. This initiative reflects the growing collaboration between the two countries.
In addition, the South’s Chief Economic Secretary, Park Chun-sup, highlighted the significance of this R&D center, emphasizing that it is the first of its kind established by ASML with a semiconductor manufacturing company abroad.
The developments are expected to have a major impact on the global semiconductor market. With South Korea’s expertise in semiconductor manufacturing and the Netherlands’ strength in equipment and material sectors, their enhanced cooperation could bring about significant changes in the industry.
South Korean President Yoon, along with prominent figures from the country’s semiconductor giants, visited ASML’s clean room during the state visit, underscoring the close bilateral ties focused on chip cooperation.
The MOU is anticipated to offer South Korean semiconductor companies a competitive advantage in the global market, aligning with the Washington-led initiative to diversify the supply chain. This joint investment is likely to focus on securing technological superiority in the field of 2-nanometer technology.
Furthermore, South Korea and the Dutch foreign ministry signed an MOU for the establishment of a ‘Semiconductor Academy,’ enabling South Korean students and professionals to receive training at ASML’s headquarters and the Eindhoven University of Technology. This collaborative effort aims to cultivate talent and knowledge sharing in the semiconductor industry, fostering future-generation exchange between the two nations.
These strategic moves between South Korea and the Netherlands align with U.S. President Joe Biden’s vision to create an alternative global supply chain among democratic nations, reducing reliance on China. Strengthening tech cooperation among like-minded nations is a key aspect of this initiative, aimed at mitigating the risks associated with China’s dominance in the global supply chain.
Edited by Taejun Kang and Mike Firn.