THE HAGUE, NETHERLANDS – MARCH 23:Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte meets with the President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping at the Catshuis March 23, 2014 in The Hague, Netherlands. The Nuclear Security Summit, held March 24-25, will be attended by world leaders and is aimed at preventing nuclear terrorism. (Photo by Valerie Kuypers-Pool/Getty Images

China’s technological progress cannot be stopped, Chinese President Xi Jinping told Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte when they met in Beijing Wednesday for talks on areas such as the critical semiconductor industry.

“The Chinese people also have legitimate development rights, and no force can stop the pace of China’s scientific and technological progress,” said Xi, according to Xinhua News Agency.

Xi said China will “continue to pursue a win-win approach.”

Relations between China and the Netherlands have been strained since the the Netherlands, together with the U.S., blocked exports of advanced chip technology to China over concerns they could be used for military purposes.

Semiconductor chips are critical components which can be found in everything from smartphones to automobiles.

Dutch tech giant ASML has been barred from exporting extreme ultraviolet lithography machines to China — it is the only company currently capable of making such machines To date, it has not shipped a single EUV machine to China yet.

Such EUV lithography machines are crucial for chip manufacturing and are used by companies like Taiwan’s TSMC to make the smallest and most sophisticated chips.


In January, the Netherlands barred ASML from exporting some of its deep ultraviolet lithography systems to China, which are used to make slightly less advanced chips.

Beijing slammed the Dutch government’s move, urging the Netherlands to “uphold an objective and fair position and market principles” and “protect the shared interests” of the two countries and their companies.

“Creating scientific and technological barriers and severing industrial and supply chains will only lead to division and confrontation,” Xi said Wednesday, according to Xinhua state media.

He said cooperation is the only way and added that “decoupling and breaking the chain” is not an option.

Xi said China is ready to continue dialogue with the Netherlands and urged the Dutch side to “provide a fair and transparent business environment for Chinese enterprises.”

According to Reuters, Rutte said Wednesday the Netherlands tried to ensure that export restrictions, when related to semiconductor industry and companies like ASML, are never aimed at one country. “We always try to make sure the impact is limited,” he was quoted as saying.


Chinese state media reported that Rutte responded by saying decoupling is not a policy choice for the Dutch government either, “since any act undermining China’s development interests will only boomerang.”