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

Coups Have Consequences

Apparently, the interim government of Kyrgyzstan, that came to power in a coup two months ago, has lost control of parts of the country and, so far, their pleas for the Russians to intervene and bail them out are being rebuffed. And so, the chaos and carnage continues to unfold.

Kyrgyzstan to get aid, no troops from regional security group

A Moscow-led security organization Monday recommended offering logistical support and goods such as fuel to Kyrgyzstan rather than peacekeeping troops to help stop ethnic violence in the Central Asian country.

Kyrgyzstan law enforcement organizations, with some help, can control the rioting that began Thursday in Osh, said Nikolai Bordyuzha, secretary-general of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, which is made up of several former Soviet republics, including Russia and Kyrgyzstan.

Bordyuzha met with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Monday as officials announced that the death toll from the rioting in southern Kyrgyzstan had increased to at least 125, with more than 1,200 injured. Tens of thousands of people have fled the violence, many of them ethnic Uzbeks moving either into Uzbekistan or massing at the border.

“The current situation in Kyrgyzstan is intolerable, people have been killed, blood is being shed, and mass ethnic unrest is continuing,” Medvedev said, Interfax news agency reported. “This is extremely dangerous to that region, and therefore anything possible should be done to prevent such developments.”

Medvedev also indicated that the security organization’s leaders may need to reconvene if the situation worsens. He said he had shared the same message with Roza Otunbayeva, prime minister of the interim government in Kyrgyzstan. On Saturday, Moscow rejected Otunbayeva’s request to send troops to quash the riots.

But former Kyrgyzstan President Kurmanbek Bakiyev, speaking to reporters in Belarus on Monday, said bringing the situation back to normal required international forces. The interim government has lost control, said Bakiyev, who was ousted in a coup in April.

In Jalal-Abad, north of Osh, mobs continued to loot and burn houses and kill people.

See also:
Uzbeks flee Kyrgyzstan, seek safety at border
Thousands flee ethnic violence in Kyrgyzstan
“Slaughter” in Kyrgyzstan
Kyrgyzstan violence: ‘I saw two neighbours shot dead before my eyes’
Kyrgyzstan’s unrest exposes heavy political jockeying
UN slams Kyrgyzstan violence
Red Cross: No Quick End to Kyrgyzstan Crisis
Russian-led Security Group Considers Intervention in Kyrgyzstan
Russia Weighs Pleas to Step In as Refugees Flee Kyrgyzstan
Coup In Kyrgyzstan?

Let’s hope this doesn’t totally spin out of control and spread countrywide.

/the Transit Center at Manas, a key U.S. airbase, crucial to our logistics chain into Afghanistan, is located near the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek