Rare Earths: NATO Chief Warns of New Dependencies

by | 22. Nov 2022 - 15:10 | Politics

Resilience of societies and infrastructure must be strengthened, demands Stoltenberg.

Energy security and the associated supply of raw materials have increasingly become the focus of politics and industry since Russia’s attack on Ukraine triggered a global energy crisis. Now NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has also addressed the issue.

The war has exposed key vulnerabilities; Russia is using its oil and gas exports as a weapon, with the aim of preventing support for Ukraine, Stoltenberg said at the 68th annual meeting of NATO’s Parliamentary Assembly in Madrid. He welcomed ensuing efforts to diversify supplies and expand renewables, but warned against new dependencies. This applies especially to China, he said, which is increasingly trying to control critical infrastructure, supply chains and key industries.

The NATO secretary general stressed the importance of Chinese rare earth exports in particular. The critical raw materials, most of which are mined and processed in the People’s Republic, are important for numerous technologies; they are used, for example, in cell phones, electric motors and military equipment. To prevent authoritarian regimes from exploiting such vulnerabilities, NATO allies must strengthen the resilience of their societies and infrastructure, Stoltenberg said.

Countries such as the U.S. and EU nations are currently working to broaden their supply of raw materials and reduce unilateral dependencies. Germany also plans to present a new China strategy next year.

Photo: iStock/jasonbennee

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