Chinese President Xi Jinping's actions this week have been rich with symbolism. On Monday, he laid a wreath at a monument dedicated to the Long March, a fabled retreat during the Chinese civil war which helped cement Mao Zedong's rise to power. Could this be a sign that a similar protracted struggle will be needed in the expanding trade war with the the US? Perhaps not. But the correct interpretation of another of Xi's actions was much clearer, spelled out for all by state media.
In Jiangxi province, in southeastern China, Xi visited a company which specializes in rare earth minerals. Such elements are vital to the production of high-tech devices including smartphones, lasers, missile systems, superconductors and a whole host of others.
China accounted for 80% of all rare earth minerals imported by the US between 2014 and 2017, according to the United States Geological Survey, and they were among the few items not hit by US tariffs in Washington's most recent trade war escalation.