In Pictures: Advanced tech conflict, China's rare earth stranglehold

The battle over access to rare earth materials, critical components of all manner of advanced technologies from smartphones and computers to aircraft and cars, raged again this week as the United States, Europe and Japan joined forces to challenge China's restrictions on exports of the metals. The crux of the situation: China controls some 95% of the world's rare earth materials and sets prices and access to the materials willy-nilly and of course has threatened to cut off access to the stuff at the drop of a hat. The U.S. and Australia have begun mining rare earth materials but they are years away from equaling China's production. So the battle rages. Here's a look at the conflict.

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