On May 23, Dutch Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Wobke Fuchstra visited China and emphasized the importance of protecting the Dutch economy and cyberspace. Fuchstra was the first Dutch minister to visit China since the country reopened its borders in 2023. He raised concerns about China’s alleged “economic coercion,” technology transfer and data disclosure, as well as the need to protect advanced technology from Chinese companies. The Netherlands is a supplier of advanced chip-making machinery to China, and Fuchstra joined the US in efforts to curb chip shipments to China and introduce export restrictions on semiconductor technology for national security reasons.
During a press conference, Fuchstra declined to give details about China’s threat to the economic security of the Netherlands. However, he mentioned that he had an “open” and “candid” dialogue with China’s Foreign Minister Qin Gang. Fuchstra also expressed concerns about cyber operations conducted from Chinese territory and foreign interference operations on Dutch territory, including against journalists. The US has already imposed export restrictions on exports of U.S.-made chipmaking tools to China, but the restrictions required agreements from other major chipmaking technology suppliers, such as the Netherlands and Japan.
Despite the concerns raised, Fuchstra emphasized that China is an “extremely” important economic powerhouse and a preferred partner for the Netherlands. He stated that the planned Dutch export controls were not aimed at any country and that he hoped to announce the details by the summer. China’s Foreign Minister Qin stated that China and the Netherlands will work together to safeguard the normal trade order and international trade rules between the two countries, and jointly maintain the stability of the global industrial chain and supply chain.