A new report suggests that the United States is vulnerable to China's lead in the rare-earth minerals industry and claims that the communist nation could even use it as a geopolitical weapon.
The Wall Street Journal cited a report compiled by Horizon Advisory, which said China knows full well that its dominance in rare earths — which are used in the technology, electric vehicle, and even the military industries — is a significant advantage.
"China's rare earths positioning both implicates and threatens the entire global system," the report reads.
With relations between China and the U.S. frayed because of trade disputes and the coronavirus pandemic, China is confident that rare earths can be used to swing the pendulum in its direction.
"They're not concerned with economic return in many of these cases," Horizon co-founder Nathan Picarsic said. "They see controlling this type of [industry] as a path to win without fighting."
One year ago, it was reported that the Pentagon was taking stock of America's own rare-earths capability after China threatened to scale back its exports of the minerals to the U.S.
The 17 rare-earth minerals are used to make consumer products such as computers, televisions, batteries, and electric cars. They're also used to manufacture fighter jets, tanks, and other military equipment.
The U.S. Geological Survey claims that the majority of U.S. imports of rare earths come from China.
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