NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg issued a warning to Western nations on November 21. He urged them to be aware and not to create new dependencies on China. The move came after Europe tried to wean themselves off Russian energy amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine.
According to Reuters, he said on a visit to Spain, “We see growing Chinese efforts to control our critical infrastructure, supply chains and key industrial sectors.”
Stoltenberg called on allies to make their societies and infrastructure more resilient.
He said, “Chinese rare earth minerals are present everywhere, including in our phones, our cars, and our military equipment.”
Stoltenberg added that Western countries cannot give authoritarian regimes any chance to exploit their vulnerabilities.
Rare earth elements, such as neodymium, yttrium, and terbium, are important components. They are frequently found in electric cars, wind turbines, and smartphones.
Up to now, China has controlled about 80% of rare earth elements.