China Threatens To Hobble US Defense Industry By Limiting Export Of Rare-Earth Metals
China has been quietly exploring the economic damage it could inflict to US and European companies - including defense contractors - if they were to impose export 'restrictions' on 17 rare-earth materials, according to a report in the Financial Times.
Notably, the US government relies on these rare earths for the manufacture of F-35 jets and other sophisticated weaponry, which use them for critical components such as electrical power systems and magnets.
"The government wants to know if the US may have trouble making F-35 fighter jets if China imposes an export ban," said one Chinese government adviser who spoke on condition of anonymity.
One rare earth metal for example, samarium cobalt, is used in precision guided missiles and fighter jets, and advanced communications systems.