The tech crisis that isn’t: China controls the world’s rare earth supply chains – by Scott Fulton 111 ( – October 2, 2020)

They’re called either the Diaoyu Archipelago or the Senkaku Islands — eight rocks just a few miles wide, if that, situated about 125 miles southwest of Okinawa.

They’re uninhabited, and generally so strategically unimportant that during negotiations for the Treaty of San Francisco in 1951 that established Japan’s territorial borders, diplomats forgot to mention them. They remained “occupied” by the US until 1972.

Today, Japan claims them, but so does China and so does Taiwan. From a distance, they look like the tops of old furniture floating just above the waterline after a flood.

Submerged reefs make for wonderful fishing. During the first week of September 2010, several unlicensed Chinese trawlers were spotted operating in what Japan calls the Senkaku. Depending on who tells the story, there may have been as few as one, and as many as 160. Japan’s Coast Guard was dispatched to escort the vessels out of disputed waters. Most complied.

One did not. Trawler Minjinyu 5179, with a crew of 15 and a Quanzhou registry, rammed a patrol vessel, twice. One account says the captain and his entire crew were inebriated at the time.

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