A memory chip plant located halfway between Seoul and Beijing illustrates the tough choices South Korean business leaders and policymakers face as they try to limit the damage from the U.S. technology war with China.

South Korean chipmaker SK Hynix bought its Dalian plant in northeastern China from Intel in a $9 billion deal in 2020 that was supposed to help the world's No. 2 memory chip maker shore up capacity and expand into cutting-edge chips in the world's largest chip market.

Instead, the factory has ensnared SK Hynix in a complex web of U.S. restrictions aimed at limiting China’s access to materials and equipment considered key to dominating the battlegrounds and industries of the future.