The Biden administration has been trying to get the Netherlands on the same page since the Commerce Department announced new export controls against China in October. The restrictions are intended to limit China’s ability to acquire advanced computing chips, develop and maintain supercomputers, and manufacture advanced semiconductors.
Administration officials argue that export restrictions are necessary because China could use semiconductors to create advanced military systems, including weapons of mass destruction; violate human rights; and improve the speed and accuracy of its military decision-making, planning, and logistics.
Slowing Beijing’s access, however, will require substantial help from allies in order to maximize the impact of U.S. export controls. Netherlands-based tech giant ASML is a major manufacturer of semiconductor machines that design and produce. China is one of ASML’s largest customers.
The U.S. has also been negotiating with Japan on tougher export restrictions to curb sales of semiconductor manufacturing technology to China. Rutte’s visit comes after Biden hosted Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida for talks last week.
The United States and Japan said in a joint statement after the Oval Office meeting that they agreed to “strengthen our mutual strengths in economic security, including the protection and promotion of critical and emerging technologies.”
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin last week called on Japan and the Netherlands to resist U.S. pressure.
“We hope that the countries concerned will do the right thing, jointly safeguard the multilateral trading system, and maintain the stability of the global industrial and supply chains,” he said. “It will also help protect their own long-term interests.”
Rutte said on Twitter on Monday that he had spoken on the phone with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to discuss Saturday’s Russian missile attack on an apartment building in Dnipro – the latest attack on civilians in a nearly 11-month war. One of the deadliest attacks ever committed. The death toll from the strike rose to 40, with 30 still missing on Monday, authorities said.
“The horrific attack on an apartment building in Dnipro highlights why this war cannot be won by Russia,” Rutte said in the post. “The coordination of international military support will remain critical in the months ahead.”
Ahead of Tuesday’s meeting, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby praised the Netherlands as “a major supporter of security assistance for Ukraine”. The Netherlands has already donated about $3 billion to support Ukraine and has pledged to spend about $1 billion more.
The two leaders also plan to discuss a democracy summit they will co-host with Costa Rica, South Korea and Zambia in late March, Kirby said.
Biden hosted the inaugural Democracy Summit in December 2021, which the administration has billed as the start of a global conversation on how best to stop democratic regression.