25 Oct 2010
Japanese trade officials are pressuring China to resume rare earth shipments, after the latter reportedly banned all international exports of the minerals.
Japan's trade minister, Akihiro Ohata, has called upon China to re-allow export of the minerals to Japan, and revealed that China is stepping up inspections of all international shipments, the New York Times said.
The Chinese government has banned export to Japan of the minerals - which are used in products including mobile phones and communications towers – since September.
But industry sources told the Times that China has in the past week halted all international shipments of raw rare earths.
Ohata told Chinese Vice Minister of Commerce Jiang Yaoping in Tokyo that the uncertain supply of the key minerals could damage the two Asian economies, WSJ reported.
Jiang said there was “intentional” embargo and said authorities were trying to stamp out “illegal shipments.”
China has repeatedly denied it has blocked rare earth exports.
The conflict with Japan stems from the September 21 arrest of a Chinese fishing boat captain in disputed waters by Japanese authorities. Although the captain has been released, diplomatic relations remain strained. China is also in currency and trade disputes with the US.