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China worries over rare-earth supply disruption from Myanmar coup

Decade after drastic cut in exports to Japan, Beijing sees the tables turned

China heavily relies on imports of rare-earth minerals, mainly from the U.S. and Myanmar. (Source photos by Reuters)

HONG KONG -- While China reigns as the largest producer of rare-earth elements, the recent military coup in Myanmar has reminded Beijing of its reliance on and vulnerability to its Southeast Asian neighbor.

China owns the largest reserves of these strategic minerals, which are indispensable in churning out a wide variety of tech products, from smartphones to electric vehicles, wind power generators and missile defense systems, but it also heavily relies on imports, mainly from the U.S. and Myanmar.

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