“Strategic Economic and Military Interests to compete with China in Rare Earth Competition” Jeong Chun phuoc, 27th April 2011
China is the world’s leader in the rare earth business. When the US and EU threaten China with human rights sanctions and political theatrics, China decided to restrict export of rare earth to the US and EU,etc.
The economic reliance on China has indeed reached critical Level 7 if the International Nuclear Event Scale is to be used under this context. However, the act of domestic extraction of rare earth in the US and EU are not worth doing so from a cost-benefit analysis point of view.
Double Standard In Environmental Compliance
Why extract rare earth in our back yard when it is much much cheaper to import it directly from the dusty backyard of China.
Domestic Versus International Environmental Compliance
The exorbitant costs in rare earth extraction is mainly attributed to the rigorous environmental compliance under current EU and US radiation and environmental impact assessment and compliance regulations. China could afford to perform rare earth extraction for ages simply because both the US and EU could not impose their own high standards of radiation and environmental impact assessment and compliance regulations upon China.
Malaysia’s strategic interest
Malaysia present engagement in the rare earth business is a good move to wean itself -and as a favour to the US and EU- from over-dependence on China. This is just another example of political brinkmanship.
The primary question is not so much on This is the crucial question that Malaysia must tackled is whether she can adopt China environmental compliance standard or the EU/US environmental impact and compliance protocols.
Japan, South Korea and other nuclear powered nations departure from total reliance on oil as a result of the Arab and Israel wars and constant conflicts are clear indications of a strategic trend to move away eventually from the Arab oil equation. OPEC itself can offer no guarantee. Hence the adoption of nuclear power policies in Japan, South Korea while Scandinavian countries spearheaded the Renewable Energy (RE) directives.
Jeong Chun Phuoc
Expert Consultant and a pioneer advocate in Competitive Legal Intelligence(CLI)
and a Reader in Competitive Syariah Intelligence(CSI)
He can be reached at Jeongphu@yahoo.com
**The above professional analysis is the writer’s personal view and in no way represent the view/position of the research institutes/thinktanks/organisations to which he is currently attached to.