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Geopolitics

The Secrets And Shortcomings Of China's Mammoth Rare Earth Industry

Analysis: China's approach to rare earth mining is putting it at odds with the WTO. China's Economic Observer outlines where China's gone wrong, and what it needs to do to set the industry straight.

Rare earth oxides
Rare earth oxides
Chen Jibing
BEIJING - The World Trade Organization's Dispute Settlement Body declared last week that China's restrictions of its rare earth exports violate the promises it signed when it joined the WTO. But the rare earth dispute, which began in the summer of 2009, is not just about China.

Two years ago, various Western countries appealed to the WTO about China's export restrictions on nine kinds of raw material including bauxite, coke, and fluorspar. Insiders knew this was just a way for the United States, European countries and Japan to test the waters. Their real goal is the rare earth elements.

The WTO will establish a very important precedent if, in the near future, it also judges China to have violated the regulations about rare earth exporting. This would be the biggest defeat China has suffered since joining the WTO in December 2001.

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Geopolitics

Our 'Emotional' Divide: How The Ukraine War Reveals A World Broken In Two

Russia's invasion has created a stark global divide: them and us. On one side are the countries refusing to condemn Moscow, with the West on the other. It's a dangerous split that could have repercussions far into the future.

Protesters against the war in Ukraine demonstrate in front of the Russian embassy in London

Dominique Moïsi

-Analysis-

PARIS — "The West and the Rest of Us." That's the title of a 1975 essay written by Nigerian essayist and critic Chinweizu Ibekwe. I've been thinking about his words as the war in Ukraine both reveals and accelerates divisions of the world that I believe are ultimately "emotional" in nature.

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With war returning to Europe and the risk of escalation, there is a gap between the Western view and that of the "others," a distinct "us and them." This gap cannot be explained in strictly geographical, political, and economic terms.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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