"when China rules the world - - obey tremble-ing-ly!!" - - Bert.
Let me tell you about the story of Captain Zhan.
Thanks to the Asian Times:
"Asia's New Cold War"
A point-of-contention, a point-of-honor now, little "out-croppings" of rock sticking above the water, called "islands", disputed territory between Japan and China, now a potential source of conflict. Chinese fishing vessel captain held prisoner of the Japanese for over a month, released, the Chinese retaliating and making veiled threats with economic leverage!
"the captain [Zhan], 41 . . . returned from 18 days in detention in Japan after his trawler collided with Japanese Coast Guard boats patrolling waters near rocky isles claimed by both China and Japan. Called the Diaoyu Islands by the Chinese and the Senkaku by the Japanese, the tiny outcroppings in the East China Sea have been administered by Japan for decades, but China (and Taiwan) assert historic claims over them."
Most interestingly, the Chinese showing their displeasure, their anger, their fury, by restricting the continual flow [at least temporarily suspending] of rare earths vital to advanced manufacturing and fabrication of high technology items. The life-blood of Japan's export market put on hold [again, merely temporarily!].
"Beijing reacted with percussive fury, severing many diplomatic ties, slowing down Japanese cargo shipments and even briefly suspending exports of rare-earth minerals that Japan needs to manufacture everything from hybrid cars to superconductors."
Consider the world-wide demand and SOURCE for rare earths. Thanks to Steve the natural resource man for the tip:
"rare earth elements — the 17 chemical elements that include scandium, yttrium and the 15 lanthanides — are a crucial component in such things as high-tech electronic gadgets, hybrid automobiles, wind turbines and the catalysts used in oil refining. They also have a wide range of military applications."
"that nation [China] produces more than 97 percent of the world’s rare earth elements"
Repeat - - 97 %!
[rare earths are obtainable from other nations other than China. China has merely driven almost everyone else out of business by pricing their rare earths for export at such a low price!!]
And here is the whole problem in the proverbial nutshell:
"The Diaoyu/Senkaku islands may be uninhabited rocks, but they are thought to be surrounded by major underwater deposits of natural gas"
Thought! Thought! Thought! Disputed territory historically has been a source of friction between nations that leads to WAR!