(Bloomberg) -- President Xi Jinping called on China to step up innovation because other countries dominate certain key technologies, comments that underscore his nation’s escalating semiconductor confrontation with the US.

While China had “made great progress” in science, he said that “original innovation ability is still relatively weak; some key, core technologies are controlled by others; and there is a shortage of top scientific and technological talents.”

Speaking at a national science conference on Monday, Xi pointed to “bottlenecks and constraints in areas such as integrated circuits, industrial machine tools, basic software, advanced materials” and more.

Last week, the US Treasury Department said that new rules it is proposing would restrict outbound investment in tech critical to “the next generation of military, intelligence, surveillance or cyber-enabled capabilities that pose national security risks to the United States.”

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said almost a year ago that the planned investment controls would be narrowly focused and a complement to existing export rules. Those restrictions, announced in October 2022, marked an escalation in Washington’s tech battle with Beijing, blocking the sale of advanced semiconductors, and the technology and knowhow to make them.

On Monday, China’s Commerce Ministry urged the US to respect fair competition and drop the proposed investment restrictions. It added that Beijing had the right to take measures in response.

In his speech, Xi said his nation would stick to its goal of “building a strong country in science and technology by 2035.”

That target would “support the overall leap in economic strength, national defense strength and overall national strength,” he added.

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