Sunday, January 09, 2011

China's rare earth becomes strategic concern

Rare earth, a type of soil that contains 17 types of elements and 95%-97% of which are to be found in China, has become a concern lately in the strategic relations between China on one hand, and Japan as well as other industrial countries, such as the United States, on the other. While China says that tighter control on its natural resources is based on environmental consideration, Japan and the US believe that China makes it a strategic leverage in its conduct of international relations. Rare earth is of critical importance to the manufacturing of high-tech electronic products, including vital components of advance weaponry, like J-20 stealth fighter jets and DF-21D "anti-ship" ballistic missiles. Also, China is widely speculated to be launching its aircraft carrier(s) this year, which is a year earlier than Western analysts had expected.