Tags: US Japan China Minerals

US, Japan Call for New Sources of Rare Earth Minerals

Thursday, 28 Oct 2010 09:29 AM

The United States and Japan say they agree that "the entire world" must begin to develop new sources of rare earth minerals after receiving a "wake-up call" from China.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her Japanese counterpart, Seiji Maehara, made the comments after a meeting in Hawaii.

For Clinton, it is the first stop on a two-week Asia Pacific tour that will take her to seven countries, including Vietnam for this week's meetings of Southeast Asian leaders and the East Asia Summit.

Japanese traders have complained that China, which controls more than 95 percent of the world's supply, held up deliveries of the minerals during a dispute over Japan's arrest of a Chinese fishing boat captain.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao insisted earlier this month that China will not use the materials as a "bargaining chip," and a Chinese official repeated the assurance Thursday.

However China says its reserves are running down and it reduced export quotas by 40 percent this year. The minerals are needed to manufacture high-tech products such as computer components and hybrid cars.

China's strong reaction to the arrest of the fishing boat captain has troubled many countries in the region, and Clinton is expected to offer assurances during her trip that America will maintain a strong presence in the Asia Pacific region. That is to be the theme of a policy speech in Hawaii later Thursday.

During an earlier visit to Vietnam, Clinton joined several Southeast Asian countries in calling for a multilateral approach to territorial disputes with China. She also annoyed Beijing by declaring a U.S. interest in maintaining free navigation through the South China Sea.

But officials say she will take a positive approach to China on the current tour, which includes a stop on China's Hainan island to discuss plans for a visit to Washington in January by Chinese President Hu Jintao.

An official said this week the United States wants to pursue "cool-headed constructive diplomacy" with Beijing.

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US Japan China Minerals
Thursday, 28 Oct 2010 09:29 AM
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