S. Korea, Netherlands agree to establish ‘semiconductor alliance’ in summit

December 13, 2023

South Korea and the Netherlands agreed to forge a close industrial partnership in cutting-edge sectors, such as semiconductors, in a bilateral summit held Wednesday.

President Yoon Suk Yeol and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte adopted a joint statement that codified a “semiconductor alliance” during their summit held in The Hague during Yoon’s state visit to the Netherlands, Yoon’s office said.

Under the new partnership, South Korea and the Netherlands also agreed to establish a biennial 2+2 foreign and industry ministerial dialogue to deepen the “strategic partnership relationship.”

Yoon and Rutte acknowledged the respective country’s “mutually supplementary relationship” in the global chip value chain and reaffirmed their commitment to establish the chip partnership encompassing the public and private sectors, as well as academia.

During the meeting, they also agreed to facilitate information sharing on the supply chain of key materials, and cooperate in the nuclear energy industry and renewable energy sectors.

In addition to the ministerial-level meeting, the two nations agreed to establish working-level communication channels between senior foreign and industry ministry officials, and create education programs for semiconductor professionals.

As part of the efforts to boost bilateral cooperation, the Netherlands-based ASML, a leading chipmaking equipment company, plans to expand business cooperation with South Korean chipmakers.

The Dutch company plans to invest around 1 trillion won (US$761 million) together with Samsung Electronics Co., the world’s largest memory chipmaker, to establish a research facility for ultra-fine processing technology used for cutting-edge chips in South Korea, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

ASML will also collaborate with SK hynix Inc. to explore methods of reducing energy consumption for extreme ultraviolet lithography machines, crucial for the production of advanced chips.

During the summit, the two countries also agreed to push for cooperation in defense, arms industry and emerging security areas.

Under the agreement, South Korea plans to participate in the largest European integrated air and missile defense exercise led by Germany and the Netherlands, called Joint Project Optic Windmill, scheduled for 2025.

“The two sides expressed great satisfaction with the extensive development of bilateral cooperation in all areas, including the economy, trade and culture,” Yoon’s office said in a statement.

“Both countries will strengthen cooperation in various fields, including economic security and maritime security, to contribute to global peace, prosperity and security as strategic partners.”