The U.S. administration of President Joe Biden plans to expand the scope of its sweeping semiconductor export controls on China that seek to hobble the Asian power's efforts to develop advanced technologies for military purposes, sources familiar with the matter said Thursday.
The plan is aimed at matching Japan's upgraded restrictions, according to the sources, as Tokyo will add 23 devices to its existing list starting in July.
Japan's revised list, which will go beyond current U.S. curbs, is set to include different kinds of cutting-edge equipment for cleaning, lithography and etching that are needed to produce the most high-end types of chips.
A senior U.S. official is believed to have told Japan and the Netherlands of the plan, which could cause further friction in relations between Washington and Beijing.
The plan comes as the United States and China agreed to have increased communication at senior levels following months of elevated tensions between the two countries.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken wrapped up his two-day visit to Beijing on Monday, during which he agreed with Chinese President Xi Jinping and senior Chinese diplomats on the importance of stabilizing bilateral ties.
Reflecting Washington's complicated and difficult relationship with Beijing, Blinken's visit was the first to China by a U.S. secretary of state since 2018.
Blinken told a press conference in Beijing at the end of his trip that his "candid" in-person discussions with the Chinese officials had achieved the goals of reducing the risk of misinterpretation and helping to ensure that intense competition between the world's two largest economies does not veer into conflict.
Still, with China's rise in mind, the United States has been stepping up its efforts to reinforce supply chains for semiconductors and other key industrial products with its allies and partners.
After announcing in October a set of export curbs on certain advanced computing chips and related items, the Biden administration asked Japan and the Netherlands, where leading chip-producing equipment makers are based, for cooperation to stymie China's access to high-tech devices.
The curbs included restricting items made in foreign countries using U.S. technologies from being exported to China.
China has reacted sharply to the U.S. move, filing a complaint with the World Trade Organization in December accusing Washington of abusing export curbs under the guise of protecting national security.
In January, Japan and the Netherlands agreed to join the United States in curtailing exports of advanced technologies that China could use to develop artificial intelligence and modernize its military capabilities.
Following the three-way agreement, Japan unveiled its additional measures in March, which are set to take effect on July 23.