Stay tuned, Fools: China continues to flex its muscles. And whether the country's actions are appropriate or not, I'm one observer who is willing to wager that we ain't seen nothin' yet.
On Monday morning, for instance, exactly a week following the start of their trial, four employees of Anglo-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto
The defendants had surprised observers of the case when they pleaded guilty to the bribery charges leveled against them. Along with those charges, the court maintained that the Rio Tinto employees had pilfered such secret information as China's approach in dealing with sensitive iron-ore price negotiations.
At this point, there doesn't appear to be fallout from the trial for Rio Tinto specifically; however, it could be a nail in the coffin for large-scale iron ore negotiations. It may just be coincidence, but on the day the trial ended, Rio's countrymate BHP Billiton
And from the standpoint of relations between China and other western companies, you're likely aware that Google
But let's return to Rio Tinto,and the potential effects the trial and sentencing of its employees might have on the company and its relationship with China. As I told you recently, Rio appears to be moving toward an iron-ore joint venture in Guinea, along with a possible gold and copper venture in Mongolia, both with Aluminum Corp. of China
For related Foolishness:
Fool contributor David Lee Smith is a former miner and a former minor ... both of which occurred eons ago. He doesn't own shares in any of the stocks named, but does welcome your comments. Baidu and Google are Motley Fool Rule Breakers selections. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days. The Fool has a disclosure policy.