US attempt to decouple China-S. Korea tech cooperation is doomed to fail: experts

Leaders of the US and South Korea announced to advance cooperation in areas including 5G and 6G technology and semi-conductors after the first in-person US-South Korea summit on Friday, but Chinese experts said US seems to have failed to drive a wedge in the deeply intertwined economic and tech cooperation between China and South Korea.

The US and South Korea agreed to conduct cooperation in emerging technologies, including 5G and 6G technology, semi-conductors and supply chain resilience, according to the US-South Korea joint statement.

As Washington makes no secrets of attempting to woo allies to disrupt the long-developed global industrial chain in chip and 5G sectors to contain China’s technology development amid increasingly intensifying competition, Chinese experts noted that judging from the prudent attitude of South Korea in the joint statement, it is not likely to yield to the US’ political tricks on the issue.

The US-South Korea joint statement shows that South Korea is taking a cautious attitude on issues involving China and is trying to keep a neutral stance, Huo Jianguo, vice president of the China Society for World Trade Organization Studies, told the Global Times on Saturday.

In the parts related to technology cooperation, the statement did not mention China, Huo said, adding that despite US pressure, South Korea apparently doesn’t want to give up on mutually beneficial cooperation with China.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in was accompanied on his four-day visit to Washington by South Korean business executives from Samsung Electronics, SK innovation, LG Energy Solution and other groups, which announced plans to invest $39.4 billion in various chip, EV and battery projects in the US, according to Yonhap News.

As South Korean semiconductor giant Samsung was recently reported to be building a plant in Texas, experts warned that Samsung, the world’s largest memory chip producer, might be forced by the US to stop exporting talent and high-end technologies to China.

The Biden administration is bound to put more pressure on South Korean tech giants like Samsung to join its campaign in dividing the global semiconductor industrial chain and block China, but the US’ attempt to decouple technology ties between China and South Korea is doomed to fail, Ma Jihua, a senior tech industry analyst based in Beijing, told the Global Times on Saturday.

South Korea’s technology industries development, including the semiconductor industry, is deeply intertwined with China, which has the world’s most complete industrial supporting system and ecological system. To expand production in China is clearly in line with South Korean companies’ interests, Ma said.

 

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