South Korea is likely to participate in a preliminary meeting of a U.S.-led group of key semiconductor producers, including Taiwan and Japan, according to the country’s foreign minister on Thursday.
South Korea’s involvement in the preliminary meeting for the so-called “Chip 4” group may increase the stakes as it attempts to navigate the competition between the United States and China over semiconductor and microprocessing technology.
Semiconductors are the top export item for South Korea. China is its largest trading partner, while U.S. technology, such as chip equipment, is essential for chip production, and both countries have significant consumer bases.
In his remarks to reporters, Minister of Foreign Affairs Park Jin did not elaborate on the meeting’s agenda, stating only that the country would participate.
53% of respondents to a survey of 300 South Korean exporters conducted by the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry and released on Wednesday said that South Korea should join the U.S.-led group, while 41% said it should delay joining for the time being, and 5% opposed South Korea entering.
This month, U.S. President Joe Biden signed the CHIPS Act into law, which provides $52 billion in subsidies for chip manufacturing and research, in addition to an anticipated $24 billion investment tax credit for semiconductor facilities.
China’s Ministry of Commerce stated on Thursday that the government opposes the new U.S. chip act and will take firm steps when necessary to protect its lawful rights.