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Korea to attend 'Chip 4' meeting as global doubts mounts over US initiative

Fellow group member Taiwan claims it never got the invite

A South Korean official confirmed on Thursday that the country would attend the preliminary meeting of the so-called international Chip 4. Fellow prospective member, Taiwan, claims it had not been given any details of the event.

Conceived and pitched by the US, Chip 4 is a strategic alliance between major semiconductor powerhouses Taiwan, the US, Japan, and South Korea.

Beijing has reasons to dislike the coalition, which excludes China and is widely thought of as a measure to counter Chinese influence both in the industry and Indo-Pacific. Chinese state-sponsored media has referred to Chip 4 as "a US-backed alliance to create a semiconductor barrier against China."

Semiconductors remain South Korea's biggest export and both Samsung and SK hynix have factories in China. China is South Korea's largest trading partner, followed by the US, where it also has chip-making facilities.

All eyes have been on South Korea to see how the nation might participate. The country is a member of another US-led economic initiative, the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF), but has diplomatic relations with China too.

Similar tweets were issued nine days apart by China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken highlighting meetings with South Korea Minister of Foreign Affairs Park Jin.

The preliminary meeting of the Chip 4 is reportedly scheduled for the end of August and is expected to define the scope of participation of each country and a formal name for the group.

South Korean officials previously said the country's decision to join the group will be based on the meeting's outcomes. On Thursday, Park reportedly did not elaborate on the meeting further than to say the country would attend.

Taiwan's economy ministry told Reuters late on Thursday: "Our side does not yet have any relevant information on a notice about the meeting."

By Monday the country's president said it was ready to supply "democracy chips" to its trading partner, without mentioning Chip 4.

The ministry said that the US and Taiwan have always cooperated on supply chain resilience and industrial cooperation, and are important partners. It reportedly added that it would be on the lookout for that invite.

Tensions have escalated between Taiwan and China, culminating recently with US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's visit. The tour was not only met with stern words of warning from China but shows of power in the form of military drills and cyber attacks as well. ®

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