Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

Child Migrants In America: What to do about the wave of unaccompanied minors?

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Abbas Araghchi, Iranian deputy foreign minister

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

More of this year's best Observers stories

Read more

FOCUS

When water becomes a weapon of war

Read more

ENCORE!

Eve Ensler: 'In The Body Of The World'

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Ed Husain, Author of 'The Islamist'

Read more

DEBATE

Pakistan Protests: Democracy put to the test

Read more

DEBATE

Pakistan Protests: Democracy put to the test (part 2)

Read more

REPORTERS

Pakistan: Imran Khan, from the cricket field to politics

Read more

  • IS video purports to show beheading of second US journalist

    Read more

  • Could France sell the Mona Lisa to pay off its debts?

    Read more

  • Video: Bodies ‘left behind’ as Ukraine forces flee rebel assault

    Read more

  • Trust and 'bio-disaster units' needed to fight Ebola

    Read more

  • France vows crackdown on unemployment benefit ‘abusers’

    Read more

  • Julie Gayet wins privacy case against French glossy Closer

    Read more

  • Germany blocks popular car pick-up service Uber

    Read more

  • Several UN peacekeepers killed in Mali explosion

    Read more

  • NATO plans new 'spearhead' force to counter Russia

    Read more

  • French clubs left behind as others spend big

    Read more

  • Britain drops arrest warrant for ill boy’s parents

    Read more

  • When water becomes a weapon of war

    Read more

  • Arab media strike back at IS Islamists – with cartoons

    Read more

  • US military targets Somalia's al Shabaab Islamist group

    Read more

  • Eve Ensler: 'In The Body Of The World'

    Read more

  • Boko Haram Islamists seize northeast Nigerian town

    Read more

  • Is Carla Bruni against a political comeback for Sarkozy?

    Read more

  • Monaco’s Falcao leaves Ligue 1 for Man Utd

    Read more

Asia-pacific

China bans mineral exports to Japan amid territorial dispute

Video by Jonathan CRANE

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-09-24

Weeks into a diplomatic spat sparked by the collision of Chinese and Japanese vessels, China has banned exports of essential minerals to Japan, despite Japanese authorities agreeing on Friday to release the detained captain of the Chinese ship.

 AP - China has halted exports to Japan of rare earth elements - which are crucial for advanced manufacturing - trading company officials said Friday amid tensions between the rival Asian powers over a territorial dispute.

Japan imports 50 percent of China’s rare earth shipments. Rare earth are metallic elements crucial for manufacturing superconductors, computers, hybrid electric cars and other high-tech products.
 
The two trading company officials said the shipments were suspended on Tuesday. Companies using the rare metals are believed to have stockpiles that could last several months.
 
“We are told that only Japan-bound shipments were suspended. The Chinese side did not give any reasons for the suspension,” said an official at a major Japanese trading house.
 
Another trading house official also said China’s rare earth exports to Japan were halted on Tuesday. “We don’t know when the exports will resume,” he said.
 
The company officials declined to be named as they were not authorized to talk to the media.
 
China and Japan have locked horns over the sovereignty of small islands in the East China Sea. Ever-present anti-Japanese sentiments in China intensified following Tokyo’s arrest of a Chinese fishing boat captain in early September and his ensuing detention.
 
Prosecutors on Ishigaki island in southern Japan, where the captain has been in custody for more than two weeks, said Friday they would free him though it was unclear when that would occur.
 
The captain was arrested after his boat collided with two Japanese coast guard vessels near the disputed islands. China responded by suspending high-level contacts.
 
Japan’s trade minister, Akihiro Ohata, said he has “information” that China’s exports to some Japanese trading houses have been stopped. But the minister said China’s government has not informed Tokyo of such a move.
 
Asked whether China’s export suspension was linked to the territorial dispute, the minister said: “We are checking facts.”
 
While voicing concern over China’s export suspension, one Japanese trading house official said China’s 30,000 ton global export quota of rare earths in 2010 is expected to expire at the end of September.
 
The official at the major Japanese trading house said China’s suspension of rare earth exports will have “a minimum impact” on its business and stockpiles.
 
“We knew China’s export quota of rare earths will run out at the end of this month anyway. So we are not worried about China’s suspension,” the official said.
 
He declined to give the amount of rare earths stockpiles at his trading company, but said manufacturers using rare earth elements often have stockpiles lasting for three to five months.
 
Apart from China, the United States and Australia have some of the largest concentrations of rare earths.
 
On Thursday, China’s Trade Ministry denied reports that Beijing is tightening curbs on exports of rare earths to Japan.

 

Date created : 2010-09-24

COMMENT(S)