Home > China, Rare Earth Metals, United States > China gains chokehold over U.S. defense

China gains chokehold over U.S. defense

February 12, 2011


An alarming new report says the United States is choosing to rely on China for the rare earth metals that are critical for the production of America’s strategic defense weapons, giving the communist nation a chokehold on the ability of the U.S. to defend itself, according to Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.

While the U.S. has the world’s second-largest reserves of the substances, instead of facilitating production, it has left China to take over the market – it controls some 97 percent of the global sales of these elements, according to the report.

The American Security Project, in fact, says the U.S. is “completely reliant on China” for rare earth metals for the production of the nation’s most critical weapons systems.

“Rare earth metals are essential for the United States’ military and economic well-being,” the report said. “Yet, the U.S. has been particularly lax when it comes to securing the supply of these metals.

“The U.S. has gone from the world’s top producer and supplier of rare earths to being completely dependent on one country – China – for its supply. China’s dominance in the rare earths market will have profound implications for U.S. national security in the next couple of years,” indicating that it may already be “too late to avoid a global shortage of rare earth metals, placing the U.S. in greater risk.”

There are some 17 so-called rare earth metals essential for weapons production. Labeling them as “rare earth,” however, is a misnomer, since these metals actually are in abundance but are difficult and expensive to extract from ore and could cause environmental damage in obtaining them.

They include lanthanum, cerium, neodymium, promethium, samarium, europium, gadolinium, terbium, erbium, thulium, lutetium, yttrium and others.

Rare earth metals have both civilian and a wide range of military application. For civilian uses, they are in such items as hybrid cars, computers, hard drives, cell phones and wind turbines.

%d bloggers like this: