China’s top spy agency vows to safeguard critical minerals, slams Western tech containment

Guarding China’s critical minerals is among its most important tasks, the country’s top anti-espionage body said, while slamming the West for its “small yard, high fence” containment drive directed at Beijing.

“Critical mineral resources are the important basis for serving the development of new industries. They are the top priority for resource security,” China’s Ministry of State Security said in a post on its official social media account on Thursday.

The WeChat post listed lithium, gallium, germanium and rare earths as precious mineral resources – saying they had fuelled the development of strategic new industries, such as new energy, semiconductors, artificial intelligence and aerospace.

China exports of gallium and germanium surged before controls kicked in

“Strategic critical minerals have become an important engine for speeding up the building of a modern industrial system and promoting high-quality economic development, which is directly related to national security,” it said.

The post comes months after China ordered export restrictions on gallium and germanium, important metals used in semiconductor manufacturing, and several of their compounds, in retaliation against Western sanctions on its chip industry.

From August, exporters of these elements in China need to apply for permission from the Ministry of Commerce, with information about the end users and how the materials would be used.

The security ministry post pointed out that critical minerals had become a new arena of competition among global powers, triggering a rise in resource protectionism and geopolitical tug of war.

The scarcity of critical mineral resources and the monopoly enjoyed by a small number of countries were behind the global scramble, it said.

The ministry further criticised “some Western countries” for setting up “small circles” in pursuit of selfish interests.

“[Those countries] have built ‘small courtyards and high walls’ in order to gain access to critical mineral resources by any means, thus seriously impeding the process of globalisation,” it said.

“Faced with the suppression from some Western countries … [China has] implemented a holistic concept of national security in recent years, and regards guarding national security in critical mineral resources as an important task.”


China restricts critical metal exports following Western semiconductor curbs in latest trade war

China restricts critical metal exports following Western semiconductor curbs in latest trade war

Officials have been strictly combating espionage in relation to mineral resources and safeguarding China’s overseas critical mineral cooperation projects, the top spy agency said.

“[The national security organs] guarantee that China’s mineral-related enterprises can safely ‘go global’ and secure the supply chains for the country’s critical mineral resources.”

The WeChat account of the state security ministry, which debuted in August, regularly posts content related to national security amid escalating geopolitical tensions between China and the United States.

The ministry has especially invested in enlisting the public in counter-intelligence work on its behalf, with Beijing approving a broadening of its counter-espionage law earlier this year.

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