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South Korea's Yoon to visit Netherlands with focus on semiconductors

FILE PHOTO: South Korea's President Yoon Suk Yeol visits London

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol departs for the Netherlands on Monday for a state visit, with cooperation on semiconductors and a potential "chip alliance" likely to be the highlight of his discussions with political and industry leaders.

The trip marks the first state visit by a South Korean leader since they established diplomatic ties in 1961 and built a partnership focused on industrial supply chains, agriculture, science and culture.

South Korea and the Netherlands are both key players in the global chip sector. Yoon said ahead of the visit that boosting cooperation is crucial at a time when global competition over technologies is intensifying, with microchips now a geopolitical flashpoint between the U.S. and China.

Describing his trip as "a crucial turning point for the Korea-Netherlands semiconductor alliance", Yoon is due to visit the facilities of ASML, the world's leading manufacturer of advanced chip-making equipment.

"The global environment surrounding the semiconductor industry is rapidly changing in tandem with competition for technological supremacy and supply chain restructuring," Yoon also said in a written interview with Agence France-Presse published on Sunday.

The Netherlands has joined the United States and Japan in imposing export restrictions on the sale of the advanced extreme ultraviolet (EUV) chip products in China - its third-largest market after Taiwan and South Korea.

ASML, a supplier to South Korean chip giants Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix, is building a new assembly facility in South Korea with an investment of 240 billion won ($181 million), according to Yoon's office.

Samsung Electronics Executive Chairman Jay Y. Lee and SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won will join Yoon on the visit to ASML headquarters, the presidential office has said.

(Reporting by Jack Kim and Hyonhee Shin; Editing by Ed Davies and Lincoln Feast.)

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