War By Any Other Name

China is at it again, waging a back door war against the West. Usually, they just try and steal our technology, now they’re going to try and cripple our technology production.

China Signals Further Rare-Earth Cuts

Chinese officials are signaling plans to further reduce rare-earth exports next year, sustaining its controls of the metals—key ingredients in high-technology batteries and defense products—that have already severely frustrated foreign governments.

Reducing the export quotas is under consideration, but it’s too early to talk about any reduction rate,” Lin Donglu, secretary general of the Chinese Society of Rare Earths, told Dow Jones Newswires on Tuesday. The state-run English-language China Daily on Tuesday quoted an unnamed Commerce Ministry official suggesting that cuts of as much as 30% from already-trimmed 2010 levels are possible. A Commerce Ministry official declined to confirm the report and the ministry didn’t reply to faxed questions Tuesday.

Speaking at a conference on rare-earth elements in southeastern China on Tuesday, Chinese officials, including a Commerce Ministry deputy director, Jiang Fan, highlighted their concern about aggressive development of the country’s resources, attendees said. One official there suggested China, by far the world’s largest producer and consumer, could even become an importer.

“Their main thrust was China needs to work to protect its rare-earth industry,” said Nigel Tunna, managing director of Metals Pages Ltd., host of the conference.

China’s decision in recent months to impose tougher quotas on rare-earth metal exports has sparked outcry from Tokyo to Washington.

China, which uses around half of its output of the elements and produces around 97% of world supply, says its limits—which this year aim to cut exports around 40% from 2009—reflect its growing environmental awareness, are perfectly legal and won’t be used as a policy tool.

Yet, foreign importers worry reductions are designed to lift their metals import costs, undermine their high-technology industries and unnerve their defense departments. The metals, 17 chemically similar and expensive-to-mine elements, are critical to the manufacture of products from iPhones to smart bombs.

See also:
China reins in rare earth exports
China to Cut Rare Earth Export Quotas by Up to 30%, Daily Says
Report: China to Reduce Rare Earths Exports
China Halts Shipments to U.S. of Tech-Crucial Minerals
China Reins in Rare Earth Exports
China Official Says No Plans to Cut Rare Earth Quotas
UPDATE 1-US checking if China halted rare earth shipments
China-Japan Rare Earth Fracas Continues
Japan Looks for Rare Earth Alternatives
Kan Says Japan Should Consider Stockpiling of Rare-Earth Metals
Decline in Rare-Earth Exports Rattles Germany
China’s Rare Earths Gambit
More on Rare Earths: Looking for a Way out From Under a Monopoly

Obviously, this isn’t a good development because there’s not a hell of a lot we can do about it unless we want to start an all out trade war. They’re got most of the rare earth metals and we’re dependent on it.

/at a minimum, expect prices to rise for any technology that requires these metals

What Might This Be?

Friday’s come and gone and there’s still no explanation forthcoming.

Flights diverted, delayed as UFO detected hovering

An unidentified flying object (UFO) disrupted air traffic over Zhejiang’s provincial capital Hangzhou late on Wednesday, the municipal government said on Thursday.

Xiaoshan Airport was closed after the UFO was detected at around 9 pm, and some flights were rerouted to airports in the cities of Ningbo and Wuxi , said an airport spokesman, who declined to be named.

The airport had resumed operations, and more details will be released after an investigation, he said.

A source with knowledge of the matter, however, told China Daily on Thursday that authorities had learned what the UFO was after an investigation.

But it was not the proper time to publicly disclose the information because there was a military connection, he said, adding that an official explanation is expected to be given on Friday.

Inbound flights were diverted to the nearby airports in Zhejiang province’s Ningbo and Jiangsu province’s Wuxi. Outbound flights were delayed for three to four hours.

See also:
Airport closed after UFO appears on radar screens
Chinese airport closed after fiery UFO is spotted flying over city
E.T. phone home: airport closed
Xiaoshan Airport shut down due to UFO sighting
China airport shuts down amid UFO.
UFO shuts down Hangzhou airport
China Airport UFO Shuts Down Xiaoshan Airport
UFO in China- Xiaoshan Airport Closed after UFO Sighting
Source in China cites ‘military connection’ for UFO sighting
Chinese airport shut down after UFO flies overhead
Reports of UFO spotting in Eastern China
China Airport UFO – Mystery or Military?
China Reverses Itself on UFO that Disrupted Air Traffic

I’m placing my bets on Chinese military technology gone awry.

/but it’s China, we may never get a satisfactory explanation