Meng Wei, spokeswoman for the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), made the comments at a press conference in Beijing, according to Reuters. No concrete details or further steps were revealed.
The government resolutely opposes any attempt to use products made with China's exported rare earths to suppress the country's development, Meng added.
Last month, Chinese media reported that Beijing may consciously restrict rare earth exports to the US market as part of its retaliation to US measures. The Chinese government classifies rare earths as a strategic resource and has planned out the exploration and extraction of the raw materials for about a century going forward. According to the Bank of America, China controls a total of about 40 per cent of the world's rare earth resources, with estimated reserves of 44 million metric tonnes. China produced some 120,000 tonnes' worth of rare earth minerals in 2018. Brazil, Russia, India and Australia round out the top five, with between 3.4 million and 22 million metric tonnes of reserves.
ThREE Consulting president James Kennedy recently warned that China "could shut down nearly every automobile, computer, smartphone and aircraft assembly line outside of China if they chose to embargo" its rare earth metals.