Updated April 22nd, 2024 at 12:24 IST

China's Pursuit of Advanced Microchips a National Security Issue for US, says Commerce Secretary

"If you think about national security today, it's not just tanks and missiles; it's technology. It's semiconductors," says US Commerce Secretary.

Reported by: Sagar Kar
Representative image. | Image:Unsplash

In an interview aired on Sunday, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo underscored the critical importance of preventing China and Russia from accessing advanced microchips designed in the United States, citing significant national security implications.

Raimondo emphasized the evolving nature of national security in 2024, stating, "If you think about national security today, it's not just tanks and missiles; it's technology. It's semiconductors. It's AI. It's drones." She highlighted the pivotal role of the Commerce Department in addressing these challenges, asserting that it stands at the forefront of technological defense.


Here is what you need to know

Addressing recent developments, Raimondo disclosed to CBS' Lesley Stahl that the Commerce Department had implemented measures to halt the sale of semiconductor chips to Russia in response to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. She stressed the ubiquitous presence of semiconductors in military equipment, stating, "Every drone, every missile, every tank has semiconductors in them."


Security more important than trade?

However, concerns over potential ramifications surfaced during the interview, with Stahl raising Chinese objections to the ban on selling products containing U.S.-designed chips to Russia, warning of a potential trade war escalation. Raimondo acknowledged the significance of trade with China but underscored the necessity of safeguarding national security interests, particularly concerning advanced technologies.


"We want to trade with China on the vast majority of goods and services. But on those technologies that affect our national security, no," Raimondo affirmed. She emphasized the United States' technological superiority in semiconductor innovation, asserting, "We've out-innovated China."

Why do semiconductors matter?

The backdrop to these concerns lies in growing apprehensions among U.S. officials regarding China's utilization of American technology to bolster its military capabilities. Advanced microchips are perceived as pivotal in China's quest for military modernization, prompting the Biden administration to intensify efforts to restrict their access.

As the debate surrounding microchip exports unfolds, Raimondo's remarks shed light on the intricate balance between economic interests and national security imperatives in the realm of advanced technology.


Published April 22nd, 2024 at 12:23 IST