Despite long-standing American export restrictions, China nuclear weapons development agency has purchased American chips at least 12 times in the last two and a half years.
China found a way around the long-standing American export rules that were intended to stop such sales and disregarded them.
China Uses Chips To Create Nuclear Weapons
The investigation showed that despite being placed on America’s export blacklist in 1997, the state-run China Academy of Engineering Physics has been able to acquire semiconductors produced by US corporations including Intel Corporation and Nvidia Corp since 2020.
The chips were purchased from Chinese resellers, and many of them were purchased by the institute’s laboratory studying computational fluid dynamics, a vast field of study that includes the simulation of nuclear explosions. Some of the chips were purchased as parts for computing systems.
Such acquisitions flout long-standing US regulations intended to stop foreign governments from using US goods for atomic bomb research. Due to its nuclear activities, the academy, also known as CAEP, was one of the first Chinese organizations to be added to the US blacklist, also known as the entity list, according to the Wall Street Journal.
There have been 34 references to American semiconductors being used in research over the last ten years, according to the Journal Review, which is published by CAEP. They were applied in a variety of contexts, such as data analysis and algorithm creation. According to nuclear specialists, the research can be used to sustain nuclear stockpiles in at least seven of them. Requests for comment from CAEP were not answered.
The results highlight the difficulty the Biden administration faces as it works to vehemently combat China’s military’s use of American technology. In order to prevent China from receiving the most cutting-edge American semiconductors and chip fabrication equipment, which power artificial intelligence and supercomputers and are becoming more and more crucial to modern warfare, the US broadened the scope of export rules in October.
AI Requires Robust Chips
The growth of artificial intelligence in China, which necessitates sophisticated computer processors, is one of the key targets of the restrictions.
For instance, since last August, exports to the Chinese market of Nvidia A100 and H100 processors that have infrastructure built-in for developing artificial intelligence models and algorithms, including computer vision, natural language processing, and conversational AI, have been prohibited.
The production of two Chinese-designed AI chips that Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) believed may outperform and serve as possible A100 substitutes were halted shortly after the October restrictions went into force.
Since years ago, America has made a concerted effort to actively resist China’s military use of American technology. The US ordered chip manufacturer Nvidia Corp. in October of last year to limit exports of two processing chips to Beijing for use in artificial intelligence projects.