According to a report by the Financial Times, the United States has requested South Korea to advise its chip manufacturers not to fill any market gap in China, if memory chipmaker Micron Technology is barred from selling chips in China by Beijing.
The news has emerged ahead of South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol’s scheduled visit to the US to meet with President Joe Biden on Monday. Yoon’s visit, from April 24-29, will be the first state visit by a South Korean leader to the US since 2011, and it will mark the 70th anniversary of the countries’ alliance.
Sources familiar with the matter cited by the FT said that Washington asked Seoul to persuade Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix to refrain from increasing sales to China if Micron is banned following an investigation by Beijing.
In March, China’s cyberspace regulator announced that it would conduct a security review of Micron’s products sold in China. The chipmaker stated last month that it was cooperating with the Chinese government, and its operations in the country were normal.
Although the White House did not comment on the FT report, it stated that the Biden and Yoon administrations are striving to coordinate investments in the semiconductor sector, secure critical technologies, and address economic coercion.
To avoid possible military applications, the US has enforced a series of export controls on chip-making technology to China and blacklisted several of China’s major chip firms, including Micron’s competitor, Yangtze Memory Technologies Co Ltd.