Tuesday, August 11, 2020

US Vulnerable to China Rare Earth Monopoly, Researchers Find

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The Chinese communist regime is ready—and willing—to use the country’s near monopoly in rare earth elements (REEs) as a trump card in any trade war with the United States, according to China policy analysts.

A report out this week from independent strategic consultants Horizon Advisory indicates that China is moving to take advantage of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus crisis to wrest control of strategic markets. Furthermore, Beijing’s fusion of its military and civil spheres—combined with its near-monopoly in rare earths—could make this market the Unites States’ Achilles heel.

According to China scholar and Horizon Advisory co-founder, Emily de La Bruyère, Beijing aims to make the United States directly and indirectly dependent on China for critical minerals and REEs.

REEs are difficult-to-recover metals with unique properties that make them essential ingredients in the production of state-of-the-art batteries, electromagnets, weapon systems, night-vision scopes, and other hi-tech products. According to the Department of the Interior, the United States is heavily reliant on imports of these critical mineral commodities—and in particular on imports from China.

“The PRC has been focused on rare earths for as long as it has existed,” de La Bruyère told The Epoch Times in a statement. “Chinese sources explicitly treat rare earths as tools of power—and coercion—in today’s globalized industrial system. This orientation rests on China’s military-civil fusion strategy: Beijing weaponizes integration into open, cooperative global systems for offensive ends. The United States, its allies, and its partners need jointly to recognize as much and respond, to scale.”

China’s Rare Earth Leverage

According to an earlier report from the Horizon team on the CCP’s efforts to subvert U.S. recovery investment, the Chinese regime views the CCP virus crisis as “an opportunity; a chance to expand its position in U.S. markets, supply chains, and critical infrastructure.” In times of economic crisis, the report says, the communist regime targets markets and…

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