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[AUDIO] CTP Podcast – China’s Rare Earth Advantage

Submitted by on October 3, 2010 5 Comments

Eric and I (along with my softly cooing newborn, Flynn, tackle the recent Diao Yu Tai islands dispute brought about by Japan’s seizure of a Chinese fishing vessel and the detention of its captain.

China utilized its fast growing control of rare earth metals as leverage in the rapidly resolved dispute, and this serve as a harbinger of future tactics or it may just serve as a lesson for how to deal with the multiple conflicts that will continue to arise as the world order adjusts to China’s prominence.

5 Comments »

  • john8348jon says:

    I dont think I undrestood the whole Australia example and how it is relevant to the big concern people got from China’s actions: the ability (and will to use the ability) to pressure other states to be in-line with China’s will, where that ability is not really related to the issue at hand. In other words, people – and not just Westerners, but China’s neighbors Korea, Japan, Vietnam,, etc – fear China (yes, I used the word fear) because of its willingness to bully (we can debate this word, but I dont see why it’s inappropriate) its neighbors to its will, just so the CCP can come off as “strong” for the benefit of its Chinese constituents.

    I understood the part about how hypocrisy is a shared trait among all nations (ie. the US and Europe can and will do similar tactics), but if a Western power doing it is colonialism or bullying, then I can’t see how China doesnt deserve the same label.}

    Great podcast, enjoyed it, as always.

  • john8348jon says:

    oops, seems I forgot to put in:

    when I say “where that ability is not really related to the issue at hand”, it means rare earths are supposedly unrelated to island territoriality. Yet, they were used rather crudely to jam Japan against the wall, so to speak. It is like Russia threatening to cut energy exports to an East European neighbor because of a similarly unrelated territory dispute.

  • Eric Olander says:

    Hi John, you are absolutely right in pointing out the vagueness of the connection between the Australia rare earth minerals question and the Sino-Japanese dispute of the Diaoyu islands. While it may be a bit abstract, the link that I was trying to make was how China’s increasingly ambitious effort to control strategically vital natural resources will likely embolden a more aggressive diplomatic and foreign policy. The particular link to Australia relates to the fact that Aussie companies have sold a significant portion of their rare earth mining rights to Chinese firms.

    The hypocrisy comes from the fact that if the Australian government believed that rare earth or strategically important metals/minerals are so vital, then it could have imposed export restrictions as it does on Australian uranium production. The West can’t have it both ways by inviting the Chinese to spend their cash on our natural resources (e.g. Chinese investments in Canadian oil and timber) and then turn around to complain when that leverage is used against the very same countries that sold those resources in the first place.

    A couple of the points I referred to were drawn from articles similar to these:

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5iWSMN6kpJ6HV80LQLcJrjzeM18hwD9IKONC00?docId=D9IKONC00

    http://www.australianrareearths.com/current-issues.html

    I would be very interested to hear more about your perspective on this issue. Thanks again for your thoughtful comment.

  • john8348jon says:

    Thank you so much for the feedback. I will look into the articles.

    “I would be very interested to hear more about your perspective on this issue. Thanks again for your thoughtful comment.”
    Actually I doubt it – unlike you, I am no expert, just someone interested in CHina! (Which is not to say I dont have my own opinions and prejudices haha)

    But as always, I highly enjoy your content, thanks.

  • [AUDIO] CTP Podcast – China's Rare Earth Advantage…

    Here at World Spinner we are debating the same thing……

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