“If materials, parts and equipment are supplied stably, no one will be able to sway the Republic of Korea, a semiconductor manufacturing powerhouse,” South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Friday. He emphasized his commitment to overcome Japan in the economic area when visiting a semiconductor parts company on the very day when the expiry of the South Korea-Japan General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) will be decided.
Moon delivered his congratulatory speech at the inaugural ceremony for the Second Wafer Plant held at MEMC Korea in Cheonan, South Chungcheong Province on the day. “For the past four months, companies and the government have made all-out efforts to expand domestic production and import substitution to ensure stable supply of core materials, parts and equipment,” he said, “It is encouraging that foreign firms are increasing investment.” The “four months” the president mentioned is the period during which Tokyo imposed export restrictions on key products for semiconductor production to South Korea.
“South Korea has more than doubled the capacity for domestic production of liquefied hydrogen fluoride, while new production plants for hydrogen fluoride gas and fluoride polyamide will be completed by year’s end, and will start mass production from next year,” President Moon said. “A new plant for plank masks has already started production of prototype products.” He said that South Korea is minimizing impact from Tokyo’s export restrictions, by citing achievements one by one from Seoul’s efforts to substitute Japanese imports of core semiconductor items with domestically produced ones.
The president visited the company producing materials, parts and equipment based in a provincial region, just hours before the final decision on termination of the GSOMIA, apparently in a gesture to renew his commitment to reduce South Korea’s economic dependence on Japan, irrespective of the situation surrounding the military sharing pact. With Tokyo yet to clarify its stance on withdrawal of export restrictions despite Seoul’s move to terminate the GSOMIA, Moon stressed his administration’s commitment once again to overcome Japan while pressuring Tokyo.