As US-China relations hit new lows, Washington is redoubling efforts to address a major Achilles’ heel: its dependence on Beijing for rare earth elements – essential materials in various hi-tech products from smartphones and electric car batteries to Javelin missiles and F-35 fighter aircraft.
China hawk Ted Cruz, a Republican senator from Texas, recently introduced a bill to spur US production of critical minerals, among the latest of several before Congress amid rising concern that China could leverage its dominance in economic and political negotiations.
“It’s making people in Washington wake up and say this is not sustainable,” said Martijn Rasser, a fellow at the Centre for a New American Security. “If China really is willing to restrict exports, we’re in for a rough ride over the next few years.”
Read the full story and more in the South China Morning Post.