As Washington and Beijing brace for a protracted trade war, Chinese sources increasingly discuss the potential for weaponizing the Middle Kingdom’s major mineral advantage: rare earth elements (REE). Some link this impending “Battle of Rare Earths” (稀土之战) to the statements of Deng Xiaoping himself. Several things are already clear. China has long understood its REE preeminence and has sought to strengthen it. Beijing has leveraged it in recent years, and now threatens to do so again. But just how usable a weapon is China’s REE production preponderance and its current near-dominance in processing REE ores into finished metal?

Full article in The National Interest available here.