(Adds Xi’s comments throughout, context)
BEIJING, July 7 (Reuters) – Chinese President Xi Jinping, on an inspection tour of a major industrial province, renewed his call for greater innovation and technological autonomy as the United States steps up restrictions on China’s access to advanced technologies.
China should accelerate the upgrading of key technologies and basic products, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Friday, quoting Xi during his visit to a company’s high-tech manufacturing zone in the eastern province. from Jiangsu.
“With the rapid development of information technology and the emergence of disruptive technologies at all times, it is necessary to maintain a solid foundation on the path of innovation and contribute to the realization of high-level self-reliance when it comes to technology,” Xi said.
Xi’s call to step up tech innovation comes as US-China tensions over semiconductors that began with the Trump administration’s trade war escalate under President Joe Biden.
Washington is considering new restrictions on sales of artificial intelligence microchips, following a series of export controls last year to cut off China from certain semiconductor chips made around the world with equipment Americans.
The United States is also considering restricting the flow of its investment and know-how to Chinese companies working on advanced semiconductors, artificial intelligence and quantum computing.
To protect the development of China’s tech sector, Xi has increasingly called for more autonomy and the need for scientific breakthroughs, even turning to state-owned enterprises to win the technology ‘battle’. key base and protect China’s industrial security.
Earlier this week, China abruptly announced export controls on two metals widely used in semiconductors and electric vehicles aimed at protecting its national security and interests, Chinese state media and a political adviser claiming it was “just the start”.
The United States seeks healthy competition with China based on fair rules that benefit both countries, not a “winner takes all” approach, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told the Prime Minister on Friday in Beijing. Chinese Minister Li Qiang.
Yellen’s trip to China comes weeks after a visit by Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who agreed with Xi that mutual rivalry should not escalate into conflict. (Reporting by Ryan Woo and Ellen Zhang; Editing by Himani Sarkar and Ros Russell)