Honolulu, Hawaii (AFP) Oct 27, 2010
The United States and Japan will cooperate to diversify the sources of imports of rare earths needed in high-tech products, Japanese Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara said Wednesday.
"We have to diversify the sources of rare earth minerals," Maehara said in a press conference with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton after they met in Hawaii.
"And here again Japan and the United States will closely cooperate with each other in order to engage in more diversified rare earth minerals diplomacy," he said.
Clinton meanwhile welcomed remarks from officials in Beijing that China will not use its near-global monopoly on the rare earths trade as a "bargaining tool," but she said it is important to diversify sources.
Clinton, reacting to the remarks as described to her by a journalist, quipped that it will make her conversation shorter with Chinese state councilor Dai Bingguo when she meets him on China's Hainan island on Saturday.
Still, "I would welcome any clarification of their policy and hope that it means trade and commerce around these important materials will continue unabated and without any interference," Clinton said.
"At the same time because of the importance of these rare earth minerals, both the minister and I are aware that our countries and others will have to look for additional sources of supply," she said.
"That is in our interests commercially and strategically," she said.
Rare earths -- a group of 17 elements -- are used in high-tech products ranging from flat-screen televisions to lasers to hybrid cars, and China controls more than 95 percent of the global market.
earlier related report
The comments came as Japanese media reported that China had cancelled a meeting of the economic ministers of Japan, China and South Korea due to a spat over its export restrictions on rare earths, which are used in high-tech goods.
"China will not use rare earths as a bargaining tool," Zhu Hongren, the spokesman for the country's ministry of industry and information technology, told a press conference, according to an official transcript.
"China hopes to have mutually beneficial cooperation with other countries on the use of rare earths... and at the same time protect the unrenewable resource."
China last year produced 97 percent of the global supply of rare earths -- a group of 17 elements used in high-tech products ranging from flat-screen televisions to iPods to hybrid cars.
The world's top consumers of rare earths, especially Asian neighbour Japan, have rung the alarm bell in recent weeks, accusing China of disrupting exports of the vital minerals -- a charge Beijing has repeatedly denied.
Shipments have nevertheless been disrupted, and a top official in Tokyo has warned that Japan's stockpile could run out by March. Japan and Vietnam are now set to sign a deal on joint development of rare earths reserves.
Zhu said China had the right to impose restrictions on the mining, production and trade in the minerals, as a means to tackle pollution in what is a notoriously environmentally unfriendly industry.
"China's rare earth production and exports should take into account not only economic development, but also a number of factors including protecting the environment and resources," he said.
The spokesman also reiterated that China's moves in this regard were "in line with World Trade Organisation rules".
Earlier this week, Japanese Trade Minister Akihiro Ohata urged Beijing to normalise rare earths exports, in a meeting in Tokyo with Chinese Vice Commerce Minister Jiang Yaoping.
Jiang told Ohata that China has strengthened shipping inspections to "counter smuggling" and reiterated China's claim that it has not imposed any ban on trade with Japan, the minister said.
Japanese firms first reported disruptions to shipments last month, in the heat of a diplomatic row between Beijing and Tokyo sparked by a territorial claim in the East China Sea.
Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan is expected to raise the issue if he meets Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao on the sidelines of 16-nation Asian summit in Vietnam this week, media reports have said.
But so far, no meeting has been set, and the cancellation of the three-way gathering of economic ministers in Hanoi could cloud prospects for any talks between the premiers.
On Tuesday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said: "We hope the Japanese side will take concrete actions to create the necessary conditions and atmosphere for meetings between the two sides."
Share This Article With Planet Earth
Space Technology News - Applications and Research
London UK (SPX) Oct 28, 2010
Power plants that burn fossil fuels remain the main source of electricity generation across the globe. Modern power plants have scrubbers to remove sulfur compounds from their flue gases, which has helped reduce the problem of acid rain. Now, researchers in India have devised a way to convert the waste material produced by the scrubbing process into value-added products. They describe deta ... read more
Raytheon Multi-Spectral Targeting Delivers High-Definition|
US, Japan to diversify sources of rare earths: Japan FM
Google giving away Google TV devices to developers
Smaller Is Better In The Viscous Zone
Testing For AEHF Satellite Services Completed
Sagem Prime Contractor For RIF-NG New-Gen Soldier Info Network
JTRS, Ground Mobile Radios Program Completes System Integration Testing
First MEADS Intra-Fire Unit Communications Hardware Delivered
Ariane 5 Lofts Dual Birds
Payload Preparations Underway For Fifth Ariane 5 2010 Mission
Sea Launch Company Emerges From Chapter 11
Ariane 5 Rolls Out For Dual Bird Launch
'Exorbitant' price talk for Galileo maps way off beam: EU
Russia To Launch 8 Glonass Navigation Satellites In 2011-2013
S.Africa implants GPS chips in rhino horns to fight poaching
Rhinos equipped with GPS tracking
Swiss solar plane confirmed as multiple record-breaker
NASA Releases Report About Australia Balloon Mishap
Aeromexico Operates Its First "Green Flight"
India mulls Boeing Globemaster III deal
Intel opens biggest ever chip plant in Vietnam
Intel to open billion-dollar chip plant in Vietnam
Intel to invest up to 8 billion dollars in US chip plants
Intel posts three billion dollar quarterly net profit
Envisat In Its New Home
FTC ends inquiry into Google 'Street View' data collection
Modeling The Fiery Past And Future Of Planet Earth
Hanging On For Dear Life
Naples still full of garbage, despite Berlusconi deal
Berlusconi says deal reached to end Naples garbage crisis
Trailblazing China environmental activist dies
South Africa in race against toxic mine water threat
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2010 - SpaceDaily. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement|