US Senators Introduce Legislation To Monitor China’s Overseas Mineral Investments

People work at the Kalimbi cassiterite artisanal mining site north of Bukavu, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, on March 30, 2017. (Griff Tapper/AFP via Getty Images)

People work at the Kalimbi cassiterite artisanal mining site north of Bukavu, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, on March 30, 2017. (Griff Tapper/AFP via Getty Images)

Two U.S. senators on March 5 introduced legislation drawing attention to China’s plans to dominate rare earth supplies in other countries through its “One Belt, One Road” foreign policy initiative.

Rare earths are a group of minerals used to manufacture a range of consumer products and military technologies, including smartphones, electric vehicles, satellites, missiles, and semiconductor chips that power all electronic products.

Senators Mitt Romney (R-Utah) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) proposed legislation that would require the director of national intelligence to submit a congressional report, at least once annually, assessing the extent of China’s mineral investments through its One Belt, One Road (OBOR, also known as Belt and Road) initiative.

“The U.S. must monitor China’s mineral investments to prevent mineral assets in developing countries from becoming beholden to the Chinese government and to thwart any efforts to weaponize those mineral investments against us,” Romney said, according to a press release.

Beijing rolled out OBOR in 2013, with the objective of increasing geopolitical influence by building up trade routes linking China, Southeast Asia, Africa, and Europe.

Through OBOR, the Chinese regime has been accused by critics of putting developing countries into a “debt trap” by offering unsustainable loans, while exploiting their natural resources like timbercrude oil, and minerals to drive the Chinese economy.

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