May 30, 2019 / 7:50 AM / 3 months ago

China willing to meet reasonable rare earth demand from other countries

FILE PHOTO: A mining machine is seen at the Bayan Obo mine containing rare earth minerals, in Inner Mongolia, China July 16, 2011. REUTERS/Stringer

BEIJING (Reuters) - China is willing to meet reasonable demand for rare earths from other countries, but it would be unacceptable that countries using Chinese rare earths to manufacture products would turn around and suppress China, its commerce ministry said.

That would be unacceptable, Gao Feng, spokesman at the Chinese commerce ministry, said at a weekly media briefing on Thursday, without identifying any country.

President Xi Jinping’s visit to a rare earths plant last week had sparked speculation that China would use its dominant position as an exporter of rare earths to the United States as leverage in the trade war.

Rare earths are a group of 17 chemical elements used in everything from high-tech consumer electronics to military equipment.

Reporting by Stella Qiu and Ryan Woo; Editing by Jacqueline Wong

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