FILE PHOTO: A mining machine is shown at the Bayan Obo mine with rare-earth minerals in inner Mongolia, China, 16 July 2011. REUTERS/Stringer
BEIJING (Reuters) – China is willing to meet a reasonable demand for rare earths from other countries, but it would be unacceptable that countries with the help of the Chinese rare earth metals for the manufacture of products would turn around and suppress China, the ministry of commerce said.
That would be unacceptable, Gao Feng, a spokesperson of the Chinese ministry of commerce, said at a weekly media briefing on Thursday, without identification of a country.
President Xi Jinping visit to a rare earths plant last week had led to speculation that China would use its dominant position as an exporter of rare earths to the United States as a lever in the trade war.
Rare earths are a group of 17 chemical elements that are used in everything from high-tech consumer electronics, military equipment.
Reporting by Stella Qiu and Ryan Woo; Editing by Jacqueline Wong